James Joyce's Dubliners Essay

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A Literary Analysis of Dubliners

James Joyce created a collection of short stories in Dubliners describing the time and place he grew up in. At the time it was written, Joyce intends to portray to the people of Dublin the problems with the Irish lifestyles. Many of these stories share a reoccurring theme of a character’s desire to escape his or her responsibilities in regards to his relationship with his, job, money situation, and social status; this theme is most prevalent in After the Race, Counterparts, and The Dead.

In After the Race, the main character, Jimmy Doyle, attempts to escape his responsibilities as a student. Jimmy’s father pays for Jimmy to be educated in England, Dublin, and later at
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The reader quickly realizes that Farrington does as little as possible at work. His boss complains that Farrington also spends more time on his lunch break than he is supposed to (83). Mr. Alleyne also explains that talking to Farrington is like talking to a wall because Farrington seems to choose not to pay attention to his boss and does not really seem to care whether his boss is about to fire him. The same day his boss disciplines him, Farrington leaves work because he cannot seem to control his alcoholism (84). He seems to use alcohol as a way to escape his responsibilities. Finally, Farrington returns to his work and rushes half-heartedly through it. Farrington does not care about the consequences of his actions and, like Jimmy Doyle, seems to have no foresight as to what the consequences might be.

In the dead the results of people escaping their responsibilities are shown, in contrast with the other stories which show actual acts of irresponsibility. Gretta Conroy acted irresponsible when she chose to marry her husband even though she was not truly in love with him. In this story, the reader sees the results of Gretta’s irresponsibility; she lives an unhappy marriage and causes her husband to feel depressed. At the beginning of the story the reader learns how much Gabriel cares for his wife and how he seems to always care for her. As a result, the reader can easily feel bad for Gabriel, especially when he feels bad
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