James Joyce’s Dubliners Essay

James Joyce’s Dubliners Essay

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James Joyce’s Dubliners is a collection of short stories that aims to portray middle class life in Dublin, Ireland in the early twentieth century. Most of the stories are written with themes such as entrapment, paralysis, and epiphany, which are central to the flow of the collection of stories as a whole. Characters are usually limited financially, socially, and/or by their environment; they realize near the end of each story that they cannot escape their unfortunate situation in Dublin. These stories show Joyce’s negative opinion of the ancient Irish city .The final story, “The Dead,” was added later than the others; consequently, “The Dead” has a more positive tone and is often an exception to generalizations made about Dubliners. An example of the distinction of “The Dead” is in Joyce’s use of sensory imagery. In stories such as “Araby” and “A Painful Case,” Joyce describes the loss of hearing and vision through the use of descriptive imagery in order to describe the perpetual paralysis and resulting limitation that the character is experiencing; however, in “The Dead,” the main character develops more sensitive hearing abilities to demonstrate the emergence of an opportunity to escape his unfortunate circumstances in Dublin.
Joyce emphasizes the unnamed narrator’s unrealistic view of life in “Araby” by showing his loss of vision. The boy is infatuated with his friend’s older sister, Mangan, and he often watches her in secret. Within the comfort of his own home, he habitually “lay[s] on the floor” and makes sure the blinds are “pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that [he] could not be seen” (Joyce 42). By using the blinds to cover his curious stares, he is taking away the vision of Mangan’s sister. He very purposefull...


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...rs that didn’t escape their paralysis, he believes that escaping one’s paralysis is difficult. However, Gabriel’s opportunity for escape the life that traps him in “The Dead” shows that it is a possibility for everyone who is willing to open their eyes and see a way out.


Works Cited

Coleman, Grant Bernard, "Imagination, Illusion and Vision in James Joyce's Dubliners" (2012). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6951.
Donovan, Stephen. “Dead Men’s News: Joyce’s “A Painful Case” and the Modern Press.” Journal of Modern Literature 24.1 (2000): 24-45. Web.
Ehrlich, Heyward. “’Araby’ in Context: The “Splendid Bazaar”, Irish Orientalism, and James Clarence Mangan.” James Joyce Quarterly 35.2 (1998) 309-331. Web.
Friedrich, Gerhard. “The Perspective of Joyce’s Dubliners.” College English 26.6 (1965): 421-426. Web.
Joyce, James. Dubliners. Public Domain, 1914. Web.

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