James Joyce's The Dubliners

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Maria and Little Chandler are characters who have life goals, however, due to their inadequate personalities these goals are impossible. They are rather weak and helpless people which is only enhanced through their childlike appearances and mannerisms. Their inadequacy to deal with life is a major obstacle in achieving their goals: Maria’s hidden goal being marriage/love and Little Chandler’s goal being to become a successful poet. This infantile inadequacy is physically and openly displayed through their consistent feelings of shyness and timidity and through their reactions to marriage. The major difference between Little Chandler’s inability to correctly deal with life and that of Maria is their outward action. Little Chandler shows through his mannerisms his inadequacy while Maria only shows hers through her mindset not making it public. Maria does not generally truly believe herself inadequate. However, through much of her behavior it seems that at times she does. Maria and Little Chandler are very inadequate thereby not allowing themselves to achieve their full potential. This inadequacy is stressed throughout Clay and A Little Cloud and is emphasized by Maria’s and Little Chandler’s very childlike appearances and mannerisms. Maria is described as a “very, very small person'; (Clay, pg. 87) as Little Chandler “gave one the idea of being a little man.'; (Cloud, pg. 60) Little Chandler’s “frame was fragile...his voice was quiet...his hands were white and small'; (Cloud, pg. 60) and he had a row of “childish white teeth'; (Cloud, pg. 60) also giving him an adolescent appearance. One also receives the impression of Little Chandler’s childlike inadequacy as he enters the bar in which he meets Gallaher. “The bar seemed to him to be full of people and he felt that the people were observing him curiously.';(Cloud, pg. 64) Upon reading this statement, one pictures a small child walking into a room full of adults and consequently feeling somewhat inferior. The word “seemed'; also stands out. The fact of whether or not the bar was actually “full of people'; remains ambiguous leaving the only known fact to be that Little Chandler sees the bar as being full, once again stressing his inadequacy. This relates to Maria’s ferreting “her way quickly among the crowds'; (Clay, pg. 90) after exiting the tram and after arriving at Downes’s cakeshop it was “so full of people that it was a long time before she could get herself attended to.'; (Clay, pg.

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