Study Guide

Father Flood in Brooklyn: A Novel

By Colm Tóibín

Father Flood

Father Flood is our favorite type of priest. Although he's definitely a spiritual guy, his primary concern is to help people in this life, not the next.

After all, Eilis would have never gotten to America without him. Eilis' boat-mate is actually shocked to see that Eilis has legit immigration papers, which are quite hard to come by. This implies that Father Flood went above and beyond the call of duty to make Eilis' trip happen—something that he does again when he puts her through accounting school for free.

He also helps Eilis by connecting her with Brooklyn's Irish community. As a priest, Father Flood knows how important community is: when Eilis is homesick, he brings her to a Christmas party, where she feels the comforting sensation of being in "a parish hall anywhere in Ireland on the night of concert" (2.239). She might've gone nuts otherwise.

Although this practical mindset might earn Father Flood some critics—Mrs. Kehoe hates to see him "rubbing his hands together and smiling" like an "Italian priest" (2.164)—we think that the results speak for themselves. After all, we have to imagine that there are plenty of other Irish kids who Father Flood has helped just like he's helped Eilis, recognizing the potential in them when no one else would. Aww, shucks.