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James Joyce, a most prestigious author of many titles, has incorporated into his works many different thoughts, life experiences, as well as themes. Those three things that he used in his works I believe are what made him the awesome author he is today. The main focus of this paper is to inform you of the themes that reoccur in many of his short stories. Some themes that I noticed were: family, frustration, dreams of escape, love infatuations, and finally, sin.
Family is a strong theme in Joyce’s writings for in Araby, the young teen finds himself obeying his uncle and asking his permission to go to the festival showing his sense of respect and need for family. In Eveline the family theme can be seen when Eveline stays and takes over the role of head of the household as a teen when her mother dies, because she feels it is her duty and she owed it to her mother. The family theme that I identified can be interpreted many different ways from the context that it was written, but these two short stories were appropriate for this theme.
Frustration another prevailing theme in some of Joyce’s work has also been outlined in Araby. Everyday the boy would suffer with an infatuation with a girl he could never have. He even had to deal with his frustration of his self-serving uncle, which he and his aunt were afraid of. The absolute epitome of frustration comes from his uncle when he arrived late at home delaying the one chance of going to Araby. When the boy arrives at Araby to find out that all of the shops are closed his true frustration was reveled on the inside.
James Joyce, the man who implied all of his themes was a master of disguise because this theme was an extreme accomplishment to find. The dream of escape comes into play in his stories also. In Araby the boy after arriving at Araby he discovered that everything had already closed. That was his one and only implied chance of escape from his Uncle that was so cruel and uncaring, even unflinching towards what he wanted to do with his life. Joyce uses all of the previous frustration endured by the boy as a springboard for the epiphany he realized in the end. Before the boy had accepted all of the frustration that had come with his life and after the destruction of what was supposed to be his magical escape at the Araby all of the frustration turns into anger and darkness.
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In saying this it brings me to my next subject. In James Joyce’s Dubliners, the seven deadly sins are apparent in a number of cases, and often times contribute to the downfall of the character. There are also a number of cases of a mention of hats. The hats reoccur often enough to give them an impact on the theme of the book as a motif. Joyce uses hats to contribute to the theme that sin is a way of life by acting as a symbol of the sin whenever they appear. Just as people wear hats everyday, the Dubliners are portrayed as people who sin everyday. Sin is a regular thing to them, and is as common as a hat. In fact, the hat in James Joyce’s "Dubliners" is symbolic of sin, since every time a person is mentioned to be wearing a hat, they are also committing a sin, and even when that hat is not being worn, as long as it is present, some form of that sin is present. From "Two Gallants';, to "Grace';, to "Counterparts';, the motif of hats is always pared with sin as an everyday occurrence and way of life.
These are just some parallels, which one could draw between the many stories that James Joyce has written. One thing that always bothered readers of Joyce’s works is that he relied so heavily on using his own experiences as foundations for his stories. Joyce was notorious for using common themes in his stories and leaving them for the reader to find and interpret, sometimes slipping them in when the reader doesn’t even notice till later. This repetition allows one to relate to Joyce as a writer and a person for much of what this famous author writes is a direct reflection of the man known as James Joyce.