Q) What picture do you think that Joyce gives of growing up in Dublinin
the era when the book was written?
A) While Joyce was growing up in Ireland he became disenchanted with
his nation and the oppressive influence the Catholic Church had over
the country. Joyce's intention when writing the book was to write a
moral history of his country and he chose Dublin as it seemed to him
to be the "centre of the paralysis" that seized it.
The stories at the beginning of Dubliners are about youth and as the
story progresses they concern older people and the last book is called
The Dead. To answer this question I am going to use three of the short
stories from Dubliners; An Encounter, Araby and Eveline. I have chosen
these three stories as they are near the start of the book and thus
detail young people's lives in Dublin, a feature of the book I can, as
a teenager, identify with.
This is the first of these stories and there are several elements
within that hint at the dull lifestyle experienced by the young boy
that the story focuses upon.
Near the start of the book it talks about how one boy's parents "went
to 8 o'clock Mass every morning", leaving the boy behind on his own.
This shows the dominant effect that religion had upon Irish family
life at that time and how it took up much of peoples' time, in this
case meaning that the family was often separated. Another example of
how predominant religion was at that time is when the story refers to
Leo Dillon's brother who had a vocation (calling) as a young teenage
boy to be a Priest even though it went against his adventurous nature
... middle of paper ...
to a lack of empathy and love and the supposed happy family of the
stereotypical Irish home. In the case of the younger children the
crushing effect of the religiously motivated education system also
dampens their ambition and crushes their dreams.
Joyce leaves me with the impression that the only way for these three
young Dubliners to find happiness in their lives is to leave Dublin.
They each have learnt the lesson that dreams looked for in the city
are hard to come by and any attempt they make will be thwarted. In
each case all or some of the reasons mentioned above have blocked them
in some way. This opinion certainly hints at Joyce's own
disillusionment and personal experience and leaves us with a very
powerfully negative (yet insightful) view of Dublin and Dubliners in
the early years of the 20th century.
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