Triangular Structure in James Joyce's Dubliners

1970 Words Jul 8th, 2018 8 Pages
Triangular Structure in James Joyce's Dubliners

Within the body of literary criticism that surrounds James Joyce's Dubliners is a tendency to preclude analysis beyond an Irish level, beyond Joyce's own intent to "create the uncreated conscience of [his] race." However, in order to place the text within an appropriately expansive context, it seems necessary to examine the implications of the volume's predominant thematic elements within the broader scope of human nature. The "psychic drama" which places Dubliners within a three-tiered psychological framework ² desire, repression, agression ² lies at the root of a larger triangular structure that pervades many of our most fundamental belief systems and life processes. This structure
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The story also provides evidence within its own structure of the second triangle, involving the three segments within the narrative and their respective connections to desire, repression, and aggression. As is fitting with the aforementioned relationship between desire and childhood, the majority of the story rotates around the boy's admiration. It is explicitly described up to the epiphany which occurs on the final page of the story; it is at this point that the boy allows himself to repress even that most intense desire that he, as a child, has allowed himself to feel. He cannot bring himself to buy anything for the object of his lust, as he has promised her he would in their only conversation. In an almost reverberating gesture, he "allows the two pennies to fall against the sixpence in [his] pocket." (p. 35.) It is not until the final paragraph of the story that we are offered a glimpse of the boy's aggression : "Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger." (p. 35.) Appropriate to his age, his aggression is potential rather than actual. Although children can of course be physically violent, this kind of schoolyard aggression is perhaps not the type of violence Joyce intends to depict; it is not until the later stories of adulthood that the protagonists of Dubliners begin to act on their fierce emotions, usually in the form of

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