Paralysis In James Joyce's Dubliners

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Hopefully this Essay is Slightly More Intelligible than Finnegan’s Wake: Dubliners Essay “To be or not to be, that is the question.” Hamlet’s famous quotation implies only two solutions: to be, or to not be. However, there is another option that Shakespeare never explored: to remain paralyzed between the two states, unable to commit to either. James Joyce’s Dubliners is a collection of short stories first published in 1914, that follows the inhabitants of Ireland. Published nearly a half a century before the Republic of Ireland would be recognized as an independant country, many of Joyce’s short stories in Dubliners explore the theme of Irish paralysis, that Joyce found afflicted both the whole of Ireland and its individual citizens. Many…show more content…
One of the key aspect of modernism was portraying the mundane and average in an honest (and often depressing) light, so it is unlikely Joyce would have made the choice to have a young narrator express himself in such an advanced and unusual way. Throughout the story, the narrator seems to have underlying animosity toward the event that took place. At the beginning of the story, the narrator describes how his evenings were spent, “When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of sky above us was the colour of ever-changing violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed” (19). Even when describing fun activities, like playing outside with neighbors, the narrator uses negative language. Typically, a memory about a failed childhood crush would be met with a shrug, but the narrator still has feelings of anger toward this event all these years later. This is because this story illustrates what was likely one of the the first instances of paralysis the narrator encountered in his life. The story has value because of the implications it has on the future of the narrator. The negative tone of the story reflects how the narrator still feels disgust toward this event many years later because it was the first in a
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