James Joyce’s Dubliners Essay

1493 Words 6 Pages
James Joyce’s Dubliners is a collection of short stories that aims to portray middle class life in Dublin, Ireland in the early twentieth century. Most of the stories are written with themes such as entrapment, paralysis, and epiphany, which are central to the flow of the collection of stories as a whole. Characters are usually limited financially, socially, and/or by their environment; they realize near the end of each story that they cannot escape their unfortunate situation in Dublin. These stories show Joyce’s negative opinion of the ancient Irish city .The final story, “The Dead,” was added later than the others; consequently, “The Dead” has a more positive tone and is often an exception to generalizations made about Dubliners. An …show more content…
One day, Mangan’s sister finally talks to the boy. They chat about the bizarre, and he promises to go and buy her something. While she speaks to him, he notices how the light “caught the white curve of her neck, lit up her hair that rested there and, falling, lit up the hand upon the railing” (45). As they speak for the first time, he is quite literally seeing her in a new light. After some convincing and waiting, he is finally cleared to make the journey to the bizarre. He arrives, however, to an almost completely closed market. He approaches an open stand but feels unwelcome and out of place. He doesn’t buy the girl anything but waits just a minute longer, “though [he] knew [his] stay was useless, to make [his] interest in her wares seem the more real” (52). Disappointed, he turns to leave, and the lights go out. As he is“[g]azing up into the darkness”, he begins to see himself as “a creature driven and derided by vanity; and [his] eyes burned with anguish and anger” (53). In the absence of light and without the ability to see with his eyes, he is able to look within himself and see that he hasn’t been living in reality. As Heyward Ehrlich says, “the boy’s imagination is primed from the start to escape from all adversity seen in the external social world into his private realm of sexual and literary images” (320). His immaturity and lack of experience prevent him from seeing the reality of the situation until the lights have gone out
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