The Theme of Escape in James Joyce’s Dubliners

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The Theme of Escape in James Joyce’s Dubliners In James Joyce’s Dubliners, the theme of escape tends to be a trend when characters are faced with critical decisions. Joyce’s novel presents a bleak and dark view of Ireland; his intentions by writing this novel are to illustrate people’s reasons to flee Ireland. In the stories “Eveline, “Counterparts”, and the “Dead”, characters are faced with autonomous decisions that shape their lives. This forlorn world casts a gloomy shadow over the characters of these stories. These stories are connected by their similar portrayal of Ireland. They clearly represent Joyce’s views on people’s discontent with Ireland. In the story “Eveline”, Joyce’s main character Eveline has ambitions to escaper her life in Ireland. For the main part of the story she is waiting in front of a window ready to leave for a new life with her lover Frank. “She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror. Escape! She must escape” (29). This illustrates the theme of escape by showing her dissatisfaction with her life in Ireland. She is reluctant due to a promise made to her mother to stay and take care of her family. Being an independent person she longs to leave Ireland however, she decides to stay at the end of the story with complete awareness of her decision. “NO! No! No! It was impossible. Her hands clutched the iron in frenzy” (34). She could leave her father and live a happy life instead she lives this displeasing life. Eveline is overwhelmed by her unending struggle with her will to leave. Eveline is compelled by her responsibility of taking care of her father. In this story, the main antagonist is her father who is a shameful parent. He creates an unplea... ... middle of paper ... ... we see that life is a façade; the characters disguise their sorrow in modesty. Joyce’s portrayal of Ireland undoubtedly creates a desire to evade a gloomy life. In Joyce’s stories “Eveline”, “Counterparts” and the “Dead”, the theme of escape and responsibility is represented by the characters desire to flee their lives. These stories symbolize Joyce’s interpretation of life in Ireland. With careful analysis it can be inferred that the miserable situations portrayed in these stories can be directly tied into how readers may view life in Ireland. Like the characters in Dubliners people desired a better life for themselves in and out of Ireland. The themes common to these stories show an appreciation to opportunity and success in the world. The themes of escape and responsibility present in a readers mind a looking glass for viewing life and society.

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