The Conflict of Intercultural Values in Stories by William Faulkner and James Joyce

The Conflict of Intercultural Values in Stories by William Faulkner and James Joyce

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This literary study will analyze the conflict of intercultural values that are found within the modernist and traditionalist views represented in these two stories by William Faulkner and James Joyce. The evolving conflict of traditional values versus modern values found in early 20th century Dublin reveals the often pompous and closed society that exists within the microcosm of family life. Joyce’s main character Gabriel is a character that must face this traditional and often stuffy type of Dublin aristocracy, as her tries to reinvent himself as the modern man. This type of ‘death” in traditional values is also part of the familial conflict that Emily must also face as a Southern woman facing the defeat of the South and the modern Northern society that takes away her traditional role as a prominent leader in plantation society. In essence, these two stories similarly represent the intercultural conflict of traditionalist and modernist societies that Emily and Gabriel must face in ever-shifting cultural values they affect their immediate social environment.
In Joyce’s “The Dead”, the conflict between traditionalist Irish values of a traditional aristocracy often clashes with the youthful modernist perspective of Gabriel, the main character in this story. Joyce’s use of high society creates the feeling that Gabrielle is a modern youth that dislikes the arrogant and pompous “walking dead” that refuse to change with the times. The aristocracy that is presented in the play obviously denotes the strict societal behaviors that everyone seems to use, but show little character or deviance from the grand appreciation we might wish to feel for these so called ‘well bred’ people. In fact, Gabriel seems to think his family are a little too...


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...rnist values that affect their lives. By comparing the changes that altered Emily’s life after the Civil War and her fall from grace as a Southern plantation owner, Gabriel also struggles with the oftentimes monotonous and despairing traditionalist values that inhibit his youthful desire to be ‘modern’. When understanding the traditionalist family values that haunt Emily’s new role in carpetbagger society, so do these intercultural aspects of life in Dublin define the conflicting boundaries of traditional life that confuse and aggravate Gabriel in his own family life. These are the primary values that define the conflict of modernist and traditional intercultural values in these two classic stories by Faulkner and Joyce.

Works Cited:

Faulkner, William. Collected Stories. New York: Vintage,
1995.

Joyce, James. The Dead. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.

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