Desire of Escape
In Dubliners, James Joyce tells short stories of individuals struggling with life, in the city of Dublin. “It is a long road that has no turning” (Irish Proverb). Many individuals fight the battle and continue on the road. However, some give up and get left behind. Those who continue to fight the battle, often deal with constant struggle and suffering. A reoccurring theme, in which Joyce places strong emphasis on, is the constant struggle of fulfilling responsibilities. These responsibilities include; work, family and social expectations. Joyce writes about these themes because characters often feel trapped and yearn to escape from these responsibilities. In “The Little Cloud”, “Counterparts”, and “The Dead” characters are often trapped in unhappy living situations, often leading to a desire of escape from reality and daily responsibilities.
In Dubliners, characters feel trapped in work related issues, which ultimatly results in unhappiness. In the story “Counterparts”, Farrington is unhappy with his job. Working as a copy clerk, does not provide Farrington with proper satisfaction. The mistreatment he receives from his boss, makes his job worse. Mr. Alleyne screams, “you have always some excuse or another for shirking work. Let me tell you that if that contract is not copied before this evening I’ll lay the matter before Mr. Crosbie... Do you hear me now?” (83). Farringtons boss is strict and demeaning. Feelings of worthlessness are quite evident. One might argue that Farrington abuses alcohol as a way to escape his work responsibilities. He does this by engaging in constant stops at the pub during his work day. “It’s alright Mr. Shelley, said the man, pointing with his finger to indicate the objective of his journey” (84).
A similar type of entrapment in work, is also evident in the story, “A Little Cloud”. Chandler strives to be as successful as his old time friend, Gallagher. He constantly compares his job to that of Gallagher. Feelings of worthlessness take over, causing Chandler to be unhappy, contemplating ways to escape his reality. Chandler wishes he could be as successful as Ignatius Gallaher. He states, “ There was always a certain... something in Ignatius Gallaher that impressed you in spite of yourself” (67). Constantly comparing his job, to that of Gallaher, Chandler becomes more depressed.
When personalities collide it can result in a disastrous work environment. This is exactly what happened in James Thurber’s fictional short story ‘The Catbird Seat’. From the moment they first met; Mr. Martin and Mrs. Barrows personalities did not blend well. Mr. Martin’s demeanor was the total opposite of Mrs. Barrows and because of this he could not cope with her over the top domineering personality. As the story evolves we begin to understand just how much of an impact Mrs. Barrows is having on Mr. Martin’s boring methodical life. This disruption drives Mr. Martin to contemplate ‘rubbing out’ Mrs. Barrows. As Mr. Martin’s plans unfold; we begin to see the theme of the story ‘you cannot judge a book by its cover’.
“Dubliners” by James Joyce was first published in 1914. It is a collection of short stories, which takes place in the same general area and time frame, moving from one individual’s story to the next. Boysen in “The Necropolis of Love: James Joyce’s Dubliners” discuses the way the citizens of Dublin are caught in this never ending misery because of the lack of love- mainly instituted by the “criminalization of sensual love” from the church- and the economic stress, and struggle to survive. Zack Brown goes through the individual short stories, pointing out their references to paralysis, as well as a few other themes in “Joyce’s Prophylactic Paralysis: Exposure in “Dubliners.”” “James Joyce’s usage of Diction in Representation of Irish Society in Dubliners” by Daronkolaee discuses the background knowledge of the culture and particular details of the city that enhance the understanding of the reader and enforce the ideas presented by Boysen and broken down by Brown. These analytical articles help support the idea that Joyce uses
James Joyce wrote the book Dubliners; Joyce expresses many different types of emotions throughout the book. The emotions portray individuals in society, and light and dark. The emotions of individuals are examined throughout the stories by other members in society. The stories that express the ideas are: “The Encounter,” “Eveline”, and “The Dead.” The symbolism of individuals in society expresses many different situations that are happening in the characters lives. The symbolism of light goes along with the idea of feeling happy and enjoying life. The theme of dark shows the individuals fighting, and having a negative outlook on life.
Dubliner by James Joyce is full of epiphanies that characters experience about the lives they live. All of the stories in Dubliners share the common themes of realization, and awareness. As the stories progress “The Sisters” and “the Dead” show the real way of life in Dublin in the early 20th century. These stories were not only showing the truth in the characters lives, but the true problems of Dublin in the 20th century. These themes are echoed throughout both “The Sisters” and “The Dead” and result in the main characters becoming more aware of their mortality and surroundings.
Work gives life a meaning. Whether working in an office or at a supermarket in your local neighborhood, it is one’s dream to find a well-paying job to please their necessities. The workplace can either turn out to be the most enjoyable or the most monotonous. This ultimately depends on the workers’ attitude towards their jobs. In Ray Miller’s short story “Work,” the protagonist, Davis, is very unenthusiastic towards his job. He works in a frustrating office environment. Conversely, Sammy, from John Updike’s short story “A&P,” works at a local supermarket named A&P where he is required to ring up groceries for all the customers. His job is rather disappointing until he meets three odd women dressed in bathing suits. The teenage cashiers are
“Bartleby, The Scrivener” by Herman Melville represents work and industry as horrid, and inhumane. Normal people who work for a boss and dislike their job know how grim work can be and Melville shows this dreadfulness through metaphors, imagery, characters, and setting. Melville introduces some solutions as to how an individual can make their job better. Bartleby chooses to break the demanding cycle by slowly saying “no”, and being disobedient. The cycle is waking up, going to work, go back home, eat, and then sleep. The cycle in the story is represented by the characters; Gingernut is a 12-year-old who does not think his job is important, and Nippers is a 24-year-old who has a lot of ambition in the office because he feels very energetic and
A collection of short stories published in 1907, Dubliners, by James Joyce, revolves around the everyday lives of ordinary citizens in Dublin, Ireland (Freidrich 166). According to Joyce himself, his intention was to "write a chapter of the moral history of [his] country and [he] chose Dublin for the scene because the city seemed to [b]e the centre of paralysis" (Friedrich 166). True to his goal, each of the fifteen stories are tales of disappointment, darkness, captivity, frustration, and flaw. The book is divided into four sections: childhood, adolescence, maturity, and public life (Levin 159). The structure of the book shows that gradually, citizens become trapped in Dublin society (Stone 140). The stories portray Joyce's feeling that Dublin is the epitome of paralysis and all of the citizens are victims (Levin 159). Although each story from Dubliners is a unique and separate depiction, they all have similarities with each other. In addition, because the first three stories -- The Sisters, An Encounter, and Araby parallel each other in many ways, they can be seen as a set in and of themselves. The purpose of this essay is to explore one particular similarity in order to prove that the childhood stories can be seen as specific section of Dubliners. By examining the characters of Father Flynn in The Sisters, Father Butler in An Encounter, and Mangan's sister in Araby, I will demonstrate that the idea of being held captive by religion is felt by the protagonist of each story. In this paper, I argue that because religion played such a significant role in the lives of the middle class, it was something that many citizens felt was suffocating and from which it was impossible to get away. Each of the three childhood stories uses religion to keep the protagonist captive. In The Sisters, Father Flynn plays an important role in making the narrator feel like a prisoner. Mr. Cotter's comment that "… a young lad [should] run about and play with young lads of his own age…" suggests that the narrator has spent a great deal of time with the priest. Even in death, the boy can not free himself from the presence of Father Flynn (Stone 169) as is illustrated in the following passage: "But the grey face still followed me. It murmured; and I understood that it desired to confess something.
Throughout Dubliners James Joyce deliberately effaces the traditional markers of the short story: causality, closure, etc. In doing so, "the novel continually offers up texts which mark their own complexity by highlighting the very thing which traditional realism seeks to conceal: the artifice and insufficiency inherent in a writer's attempt to represent reality.(Seidel 31)" By refusing to take a reductive approach towards the world(s) he presents on the page - to offer up "meaning" or "ending" - Joyce moves the reader into complex and unsettling epistemological and ontological realms. Meaning is no longer unitary and prescriptive, the author will not reveal (read impose) what the story "means" at its close and therefore we can't definitively "know" anything about it. Instead, meaning, like modernism, engenders its own multiplicity in Joyce's works, diffuses into something necessarily plural: meanings. An ontological crisis is inextricable from this crisis of meaning and representation. In Joyce's stories the reader is displaced from her/his traditionally passive role as receptor of the knowledge an author seeks to impart, and "positioned as both reader and writer of text, in some ways playing as integral a part in constructing the work as the author does.(Benstock 17)"
The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers, is a story about a hard- working man, Brian Bailey, who worked his way up the corporate ladder. He eventually reached the status of CEO, he achieved success at the position and retired. He was not used to not working and found himself starting a project to keep himself busy and became a part owner/ manager of a restaurant. Brian learns about what is important about being a
Willy's sense of pride is a very big issue in his life; he doesn't like people to give him handouts, although he may need them. But the feeling of failure overrides him when he learns about the loss of his job. "But I got to be in 10-12 hours a day. Other men-I don't know-they do it easier. I don't know why-I can't stop myself I talk to much." (p.37) Willy being a hard working man that tries his best realizes times have changed. His youthfulness and life have begun to fade. A man his age working ten to twelve hours a day is very unlikely. "I don't want you to represent us. I've been meaning to tell you a long time now!" (p.83) When Willy first heard this from his boss, that is a man younger than him begins to cry. A man his age working in a company that long doesn't really deserve to be fired. It makes his life seem a waste, and makes him imagine himself as a failure. "I was fired and I am looking for a little good news to tell your mother, because the woman has waited and suffered." (p.107) Willy is clueless of what is to come of his family and feels he has let everyone down. He failed to support his wife along with his sons. His life was basically devoted to impressing others and the one job he had led him to failure.
Shame is a negative emotion that contributes to feeling guilty and disappointed. An individuals perception of themselves an a human being can have intensive implications because of shame. One’s behaviour and outlook on life can change drastically due to shame. The shame-driven behavioural changes can contribute to regretful situations due to certain actions that the individual carried out. These behaviours include aggressiveness or pure negativity, towards all aspects of life. Aggressiveness is a behavioural trait, which is due to escalating tension build up inside the individual. There may be many situations that may have contributed to such an aggressive behaviour. In the short story “Dubliners: A Little Cloud”, James Joyce explains the story of a timid law clerk, Little Chandler”, who experiences the sense of shame at the end of the story, due to an aggressive situation that occurred. The reasoning behind the sense of shame was not only the last scene of the story, rather there were several incidents that occurred in the story that had a contributing factor to the exacerbation of the conflict. There were no factors alleviating the conflict, causing the protagonist to feel ashamed for his actions in the last scene, as well as throughout his life. Little Chandler’s life revolved around the struggle that an average person experienced in Dublin, in the time frame of the twentieth century. Joyce used an archetypal approach to explain how shame can be contributed by materialistic aspects of life, such as societal status, occupation, income, etc. Joyce described how Little Chandler wanted to escape from the everyday struggles of life and live a life similar to his friend Gallaher. The need to escape Ireland and the want to be like Gal...
Joyce’s portrayal of Dublin in Dubliners is certainly not one of praise or fanfare. Rather, Joyce’s Dublin is a slumbering and pathetic portrayal of a metropolis in which her citizens cannot exercise the ability to break free from the city’s frigid grasp. Therefore, the Dubliners struggle to carve out a distinct identity that contains meaningful aspects of human life. Somerville states that “Dublin has suffered a sickness of the heart,” an assentation that certainly captures the undertones of paralysis in Dubliners (Somerville 109). If it is indeed true that Dublin has lost her heart, she has also lost important emotional contexts that help sustain one’s livelihood. Without a heart, Dublin becomes a city “locked in place” with inadequate chances for forward progress from a socioeconomic perspective (Somerville 112). Yet, if Dublin’s heart is sick, it is only logical to assume that a “cure” is needed; the “cure” that the Dubliners seek, is money. As a result of Dublin’s paralysis and subsequent lack of basic societal values, Dublin’s citizens utilize money as a means of escaping the city in order to fully exercise their selfhood and free-will, which is compromised
Bartleby the main character in this story starts out a worker in the dead letter office in Washington. Exposing someone to a depressed situation can have an effect on one's mental health. He later becomes a scrivener on Wall Street.When first hired Bartleby is a very consistent employee. " I can see that figure now- pallidly neat, pitiably respectful, incurably forlorn, it was Bartleby."
Writing enables James Joyce the power to belittle not only Dublin, but to express his lack of affiliation with the Catholic Church. In Dubliners, Joyce paints the picture of a town filled with greed, both sexually and financially. He takes the definition of religion and turns it on itself. Joyce shows no mercy on his path to ridicule Dublin’s pride and historical roots. In a number of the stories Joyce depicts man as an infection in Dublin. Most of the time men will be at fault or the root of a problem. Joyce also has little difficulty writing about an imperfect Dublin, one that when spoken about only draws countless gasps.