Dubliners By James Joyce

.. ire of it has a much more complicated meaning.Eastward movement theme finds its roots in the catholicism; the ancient custom of building churches with their heads to the east so that the celebrant of the mass faced east: in doing so the priest looked toward Eden,the earthly paradise; the cathecumens 4th century turned to the west to renounce Satan and to the east to recite the creed before they stepped into the baptismal font; Chist returning for the Last Judgment was expected to come from east; East: universally accepted emblem of beginning and place of birth. So, that “unity of Dubliners” which critics talk about , is realized in terms of religious images and ideas(most of them distinctively Christian). Joyce’s schematic arrangement of virtues and sins in “Dubliners” First 3 stories– faith,hope,love (THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES) From 5th to the 11th story– pride,covettousness,lust,envy,anger,gluttony,sloth (SINS)**P.S.the 7 stories devoted to the sins occupy exactly the central position of the book) From 12th to 14th story–justice,temperance,prudence(CARDINAL VIRTUES) 15th story–No virtue or sin is given (maybe Joyce aims to suggest its predominance). The pattern of virtues and sins and the pattern of motions and arrests in Dubliners express one development. The stories The sisters-This story is a riddle.Nothing comes quite clear.The nameless boy who tells the story is “puzzled” by hints and “intricate questions” and so are we.”The sisters” opens simply with night,paralysis and death which,as we have seen,point toward the final story. Central words (they express men’s physical,moral,spiritual imperfections): -paralysis (physical imperfection) -gnomon (imperfect geometrical figure) -simony (ecclesiastical sin**imperfection) About the plot, almost nothing happens.

“The poor Father Flynn” is talked about by the old Cotter and the sisters and thought about or remembered by the boy.The story is mostly made of talk and memory from which we learn that Father Flynn was a queer one (un tipo strano),untidy,torpid and probably perverse. Epiphany in the story:the boy’s nightmare of Father Flynn’s grey face and his murmured confession Themes: – confession (in the dream) – comunion (Father F. drops a chalice; when dead he “loosely” hold a chalice; the glass of winereceived by the boy at the table (altar). An encounter-This story seems a continuation of “The sisters”. Connections: -both stories are told in 1st person by the same boy,who’s now a little older; -both have archetypal themes: in “The Sisters”**image of the father in “An encounter”**image of the journey or,better,of the QUEST(=that is,journey with a goal). This quest is for the PIGEON HOUSE,Dublin’s electric light and power station on the breakwater in the bay. Symbols: – light and power suggest God; – the pigeon**traditional icon of the Holy Ghost.

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The boys never get to the Pigeon House.Their quest ends in frustration.They meet an old man near the bank of the Dodder.He really looks like Father Flynn because of his clothes,teeth and perversity.the old man is called by Mahony as a “queer old JOSSER”(un tipo molto strano)***nothing in Joyce is accidental.”JOSSER” can be English slang for a simpleton (sempliciotto).Thosuh this is not the right case.But the word can also be Pidgin English (**inglese semplificato misto ad elementi indigeni) fro a devotee of a Joss (=idolo) or a God.Probably not God,as some have thought, the pervert here may imply what men, unable to reach the Pigeon House (that is, The Trinity), find in place of him. Other themes: -ILLUSION AND DISILLUSIONMENT (desiring relief from the boredom of school and Dublin,the boy wants to escape**”green eyes”=symbol of escape). There’s disappintment because: -the green-eyed Norvegian sailor shouts “All right!All right!”(that seems commonplace) -the boy meets a pervert with his bottle-green eyes. Araby:another story of illusion,disillusionment and awareness.That North Ricmond Street,where the boy lives (and Joyce himself once lived) is not without meaning.In spite of its brown aspect (brown and yellow) are Joyce’s colors pf paralysis and decay) in this brown street we have the exciting figure of Mangan’s sister.Since Mangan,one of Joyce’s favorite poets, dedicated “Dark Rasaleen” to his country, it seems that Mangan’s sister is Ireland herself.This kind of “Sybil” talks about “Araby”,a bazaar,which promises “Eastern enchantment”.Talking about this enchanting place,Mangan’s siter pushes the boy to go there.Plus, in that way she starts the boy on his quest.With a florin in his hand, the boy arrives at the building displaying the “magical name”but it is too late for the shop was closing. Epiphany of the story -silence (“it is like that which pervades a church after a service”) -the stupid conversation of a young lady with two men (this is a typical epiphany because it shows the emptiness of the moment and provides the sinking sensation) The promise of enchantment has benn followed by disenchantment . Last sentence (it shows the moment of realization): “gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity”. Eveline – This story is the best expression of Joyce’s paralysis.

The plot is simple. This girl, who has a dull job and leats a dull life whit a brutal father, is offered escape by a sailor. But Irish paralysis frustrates her bold project. The end doesn’t show awareness but inability, arrest. Images, though less abundant than in the first three stories, are never insignificant.

The most important images, however, include life and death: – Dust finds its opposites in the good air of “Buenos Aires” and in the sea. – Buenos Aires, never reached, is Eveline’s Pigeon House (connection with “an encounter”). – Also in “Eveline”, as in each of the first three stories, there is a missing priest, represented here by a “Yellowing” photograph in the parlor. After the race – This story was published during 1904. We notice a Joyce’s unfamiliarity with the subject. He almost didn’t know anything about cars, yachts etc. etc.

Such ignorance may explain the failure of this story. Jimmy, the protagonist, may represent Joyce during his tempopary infatuation with speed, elegance and machine. Big admirer of Frenchmen, Hungarians, Englishmen and Americans, Jimmy finds in their cars and yachts his pigeon house and his Buenos Aires. The bitter realization of his true condition comes with the grey light of day (that’s quite unnatural as well).