Analysis of The Novel Dubliners by James Joyce Essay

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In response to his publisher's suggested revisions to Dubliners, James Joyce "elevated his rhetoric to the nearly Evangelical [and wrote]: 'I seriously believe that you will retard the course of civilization in Ireland by preventing the Irish people from having one good look in my nicely polished looking-glass'"1. A pivotal part of this "looking-glass" is Joyce's representation of Dublin, which functions akin to an external unconsciousness in that a series of unrelated characters experience similar problems by virtue of their common connection to the city. Furthermore, the characters absorb the city into their identities, creating a symbiotic relationship with it. This renders escape - or emigration - a bifurcation of one's identity, and …show more content…
Aside from an obvious fear of harm, the narrator is discomforted because the experience estranges him from the familiar, and in his trepidation he seeks Mahony, who, like "dear, dirty Dublin"(p.52), he once considered abandoning: "I had always despised him a little"(p.15). The narrator's timorous reaction to what resides beyond Dublin is a common motif in Dubliners. In his exchange with the josser (whose namesake evokes "tosser": slang for masturbation), he tests a new identity removed from the city, assuming a pseudonym and conversing with a stranger in a field outside the city(p.14). But the test frightens him, and he calls for the familiar Mahony despite his disdain for him. Although, many of the characters' fantasies flirt with departing Dublin, they all balk at their imagined departures in reality. "Eveline" harbours the most striking example of this: "She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition."(p.26). Eveline is paralysed by the notion of sundering herself from Dublin and forging a new identity in "Buenos Aries"(p.26). She cannot bear to emigrate because deleterious circumstances at home alongside an abusive father have destroyed her
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