Essay on Feminism in Dubliners

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| Feminism in Dubliners |
Mrs. Atkins; English A3
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

James Joyce’s book of short stories entitled Dubliners examines feminism and the role of women in Irish society. The author is ahead of his time by bringing women to the forefront of his stories and using them to show major roles and flaws in Irish society, specifically in “Eveline” and “The Boarding House”. James Joyce portrays women as victims who are forced to assume a leading and somewhat patriarchal role in their families. He uses them to show the paralysis of his native land Ireland, and the disruption in social order that is caused by the constant cycle of abuse that he finds commonplace in Ireland. Joyce is trying to end the Victorian and archaic view of
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This is seen when the narrator speaks about the story of the field that Eveline, her brothers, and another family’s children used to play on which was bought by a man from Belfast in order to build a house. Another example, is how she and her brothers would play out in a field, and her father would come to “hunt them in out of the field with his blackthorn stick” (34). This also symbolizes the discord of family relations, and the premature annihilation of her childhood innocence by her father and the premature end of innocence that is caused by abusive men to their children in Ireland. Eveline is also denied the basic right to love and affection by her own choice. She finds a man who loves and values her, and is the exact opposite of her abusive father. Frank represents the opportunity for escape and a break in the cycle. She finally has an opportunity for a new life, and she chooses to stay in Ireland to take care of her father and brothers. Eveline’s choice to stay in Ireland, rather than to leave with Frank can be seen as a result of the lack of self-worth and mental constraints set on her by her father, which parallels the fact that Ireland’s paralysis is caused by the abuse of male authority roles. Eveline feels tied to her father, in the same way a hopeless chained animal who knows no better than to wait patiently and endure. The illusion of captivity was so complete that even though she had an opportunity to escape her ‘cage’, she chose to stay in it.
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