Two Gallants Essay

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Two Gallants A short story by James Joyce published in his 1914 collection Dubliners. Two men, Lenehan and Corley, are walking the streets of central Dublin on a Sunday evening. Corley dominates the conversation telling Lenehan about a girl he has recently seduced, a maid who works for a wealthy family. He brags about how the girl supplies him with cigars and cigarettes, which she steals from the family. Corley considers his relationship with this girl superior compared to when he used to ask women out and spend money on them. The two men have arranged a meeting with the maid, where the aim is to convince the maid to bring them money, stolen from her employees. Corley has a date with the girl later that evening, and before he…show more content…
Joyce describes Corley as “squat and ruddy” and with a “large, globular and oily head”– not exactly how one imagine a gallant. Furthermore he seems rude and selfish, because of his constant bragging and his behaviour towards the girl and Lenehan. Lenahan on the other hand is described as a “leech” but a bit more self-reflective than Corley. Based on his expectations towards others, it would seem as if he has been let down several times, for instance in the end where Corley hasn’t arrived at the appointed hour, Lenehan instantly assume, that Corley has cut him out of the plan. Similarly, Corley only allows Lenehan a distant glimpse of the girl, for the fear of competition. The two gallants both have a constant of being betrayed. The title is obviously ironic, considered the two men’s behaviour during the short story. The two men are anything but gallant and fine men. Instead they exploit the young woman. Corley has seduced her into giving both her body and some cash in exchange for nothing but a lie. Corley hasn’t even revealed his name for the girl. Neither of the two gallants have a decent job, or the opportunity for advancement. They both live a dissolute life, constantly searching for easy women and money. They don’t have any ambitions. When Lenehan sits in the bar and imagines an alternative to his current lifestyle, his vision is to settle down in some smug and live happily
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