The mindset of a specific set of the new generation of Dubliners is more sharply highlighted in the early story, “Araby” where the leading character disconnects temporarily from his Irish schoolboy existence. In his imaginary surroundings where few but he and Mangan’s sister are really present, he describes the other figures as “a throng of foes,” (16) himself a knight amid the low, greedy inner workings of the city. Inside his mind, overcome by “eastern enchantment” and romantic love, he finds his usual role “ugly monotonous child’s play” (17). In this mindset, Dublin is far from him, the cries of his companions “weakened and indistinct” (18) while the “sight of the streets…re...
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...n his thoughts and surroundings and his personal wants, in this case, to achieve passion with Gretta and his escape his more traditional companions.
While all the protagonists of stories in Dubliners are paralyzed to an extent, “The Dead” is exemplary for illuminating the ultimate escape, death. And even then, characters like Aunt Julia and Maria from “Clay” “fade and wither dismally with age” (152) and coming back to haunt characters like Gabriel Conroy, never really leave. The city of Dublin, with denizens and environs nostalgic of a city at its peak some century ago, laden with poverty and vice, is a city of both the living and the dead. This is confirmed by Gabriel’s observation after his epiphany, the snow fell “general all over Ireland…upon all the living and the dead,” (152) preserving them both in time despite any hopeful yet fruitless struggle to escape.
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