Dublin as City of Paralysis VS Paris as City of Darkness in Modernist Literature

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The beginning of the 20th century was an era where tremendous changes took place. Industrial revolution brought about techonological advancement while Darwin’s Evolutionary Theories completely overthrew traditional scientific beliefs. Undergoing such an immense transition at the turn of the century, the focus of the modernist writings was shifted from realism to experimental techniques such as fragmentation and defamiliarization. Modernist writers were no longer interested in depicting the city using the Victorian way. In the following paragraphs, short stories from “Dubliners” written by James Joyce and an extract of the poem “La Cuve (The Vat)” by Charles Baudelaire will be discussed and analyzed to illustrate how Dublin and Paris are …show more content…
The most obvious technique used is the personification of houses. In the beginning of “Araby”, the houses are described as “conscious of decent lives within them” with “brown imperturbable faces”. They are highly personified and this emphasizes their inert awareness and consciousness to the surroundings as if they have feelings like a character. These images are deployed to “communicate with the reader an atmosphere and impression of entrapment or stagnancy”. (Very often, the gloomy weather of Dublin depicted in the stories helps create bleakness and loneliness of the city. (Brannigan, 72) Dublin itself “is a living being devoid of passion, excitement, hope or warmth” just like every citizen living in it. (Brannigan, 73) In the first paragraph of “Two Gallants”, “grey warm evening” is repeated twice and it “had descended upon the city” as if gloomy atmostphere hangs in the mid-air. Even natural objects convey uncertainty and ambiguity. “Large faint moon circled with a double halo” which later becomes “nearly veiled” foreshadows the contigency of the outcome of theft. The interior of little boy’s house is depicted carefully in “Araby” as well. “Air, musty from having been long enclosed”, “littered with old useless papers”, the dull house is depicted as being abandoned and isolated from the others. The

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