Writing enables James Joyce the power to belittle not only Dublin, but to express his lack of affiliation with the Catholic Church. In Dubliners, Joyce paints the picture of a town filled with greed, both sexually and financially. He takes the definition of religion and turns it on itself. Joyce shows no mercy on his path to ridicule Dublins pride and historical roots. In a number of the stories Joyce depicts man as an infection in Dublin. Most of the time men will be at fault or the root of a problem. Joyce also has little difficulty writing about an imperfect Dublin, one that when spoken about only draws countless gasps.
James Joyce was a boy born into religion and a man born into his own way of thinking. Joyce started his life in the category of influenced thinking which years later people are still able to relate to. He practically came out of the womb dressed as an alter boy equipped with a bible. Ireland had known many centuries of economic and cultural impoverishment, political suppression, and religious conflict from the Middle Ages until Joyce’s day, and these hardships were especially harsh for Irish Catholics. (The Gale Group, 1996. pp. 160-181.
Agreeing with the quote mentioned it is obvious that Joyces town of Dublin lacked the opportunity to choose how to live your life. His family like most Irish Catholic homes threw religion on their children as a means of escape. To have faith and live accordingly, which would transpire into a joyous ending. Joyce only saw Dublin one way, through his own eyes. He had no intention of portraying a fairytale setting of the town, with its residents producing carefree thoughts and peaceful faces. Joyce produced a diatribe essay, The Day of Rabblement, in 1901 that attacked the social, political, and literary climate of Ireland.
This quote clearly states how Joyces view on his holy town surfaced as a young adolescent. Age bared no restriction on the power and seriousness of his work. The Sisters was based on the character Rev. James Flynn and his influence on the young nameless boy in the story. Joyce writes, Sometimes he used to put me through the responses of the mass which he had made me learn by heart: and as I pattered he used to smile pensively and nod his head, now and then pushing huge pinches of snuff up each nostril alternately.
Joyce p. 6) From this quote it is obvious how the priest trains this young boy, who we presume to be Joyce as a child, militantly on the subject of religion. In this story it is Joyce who has religion pressed on him, causing a domino effect of attacks on religion and society in the stories that follow in Dubliners. In the fall of 1888, at age six, Joyce was enrolled as the youngest of the boarders at Clongowes Wood College, an academically sound Jesuit boarding school outside of Dublin in Salins, County Kildare.
In supporting this fact The Sisters reveals to us how Joyces life was prearranged to be a Catholic and how his beliefs were force-fed. When he was done with school, Joyce took his degree in October, and in November 1902 he left Ireland for Paris. (The Gale Group, 1996. pp. 160-181. ) Joyce without a doubt had a traumatizing childhood. He rebelled against his Catholic upbringing and against the domestic politics of his native land. In the beginning of The Sisters Joyce stated his opinion. He wrote how the boy would walk by the window to see if there were candles present, announcing the priests death and giving the boy a sense of closure.
This story was Joyces cry to let him take hold of the reins in his life. In the story An Encounter the narrator and his two friends plan to skip school one day, I wanted real adventures to happen to myself. But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad. (Joyce p. 15) The grounds where they chose to venture off to consisted of a large open field and a mysterious old man. At first the man seems harmless speaking to the narrator about various literature books and poetry, but his quick comments is what drew suspicion.
He said the happiest time of ones life was undoubtedly ones schoolboy days and that he would give anything to be young again. (Joyce p. 17) Now was that reminiscing or was that a wish to be effective immediately? I say! Look at what hes doing! I say . Hes a queer old josser! ( Joyce p. 19) The Oxford English Dictionary records show that the word queer did not become synonymous with homosexual until the early 1920s, but that definition seems implied here; quite likely, the word had begun to take on connotations of homosexuality in spoken English and schoolboy slang before appearing in public, written contexts with this meaning.
The Gale Group, 1996. pp. 160-181. ) If Joyce is speaking of homosexuality and masturbation in this story he is stepping on thin ice. Context like this was forbidden during his time and this story would more than likely offend quite a few people. Not only is this subject matter immoral to speak about, but also if a Dubliner jokingly mentioned such a thing the humor behind it would fall on deaf ears. Eveline is a drama that has a near adult girl being pulled between her family and her lover Frank. What are being pulled here are Evelines emotions.
She has a mother-like duty to her family and Frank will not wait much longer for her to decide if she will leave town with him. The young sailor Frank; he, in turn, has proposed that she run off with him and sail to Buenos Aires. (The Gale Group, 1996. pp. 160-181. ) This quote can mislead you to believe that Frank is selfish and his intentions are to steal Eveline and take her away from her family. Could Frank be the evil man in this story? Even now, though she was over nineteen, she sometimes felt herself in danger of her fathers violence. (The Gale Group, 1996. . 160-181. )
Evelines father is a drunken wreck, who psychologically abuses on her and could possibly be physically or sadly sexually abusing on her. Quotes like these sway the readers opinion into believing the father is a bad man. Sometimes he could be very nice. Not long before, when she had been laid up for a day, he had read her out a ghost story and made toast for her at the fire. (Joyce p. 31) I do not agree with this quote. Even though Eveline is showing sympathy for her father and rationalizing his actions, the fact still remains he treats her like dirt.
The moment of truth has come and Eveline must choose which path she will take. As they walk up the gangway towards the boat, Eveline freezes. She gripped with both hands at the iron railing(Joyce p. 32) Eveline is experiencing a common theme in the Dubliners, paralysis. She is not sure if she can continue on. At that moment she fiddles through a variety of flashbacks. The power of evil now switches over to Frank. Frank would bear the responsibility of breaking up Evelines family if she were to go. Eveline loves Frank, but realizes where her true place is in life.
She will always be considered a second mother and role model to her younger siblings. She set her white face to him, passive, like helpless animal. Her eyes gave no sign of love or farewell or recognition. (Joyce p. 33) Evelines body language alone was enough evidence for the reader to know she would not flee with Frank. Two Gallants is the story of Corley and Lenehan who walk the streets aimlessly with absolutely no respect for women. Corley is the main character in this scenario; he seems to find various ways on how to exploit women.
The focal point of both characters is basically to see how many free things they can get from women. Cigarettes every night shed bring me and paying the tram out and back. One night she brought me two fine bloody cigars. (Joyce p. 42) Men who now supposedly open doors and let women serve themselves first at the dinner table are depicted here as brainless leeches. Proper etiquette is hard to find between Corley and Lenehan. Joyce takes the reader into the darkest parts of Dublin. In the story it is the women who are exploited, but Joyce speaks about these men in Dublin who deny they exist.
Joyces semiautobiographical collection of short stories speaks of the despair and, in the authors view, the cultural paralysis of the Irish people as they struggle with economic and cultural depression at the turn of the twentieth century (Gale Research, 1997. ) There might have been a cultural depression going on, but these two characters were just plain lazy. They saw no wrong in what they were doing and viewed women as objects and in a manner that could only be seen through their own eyes. The story ends with Corley showing his trusty sidekick Lenehan, a small gold coin.
The coin was given to him from one of his mysterious close-minded women. Joyce reveals how these two stragglers view women as trophies and material possessions of their own. In reality, these women merely provide a service without knowing, parallel to a blind prostitute. The Boarding House takes place at the home of Mrs. Mooney and her daughter Polly. Mrs. Mooney had just been granted a legal separation from her alcoholic husband. The ultraconservative Catholic Church, whose laws forbid divorce. (Gale Research, 1997) In Dubliners there is not a belief or law Joyce wishes not to challenge.
Not only did her husband attack her with a meat cleaver, but also she opted for a divorce. It would not be surprising if the phrase Two wrongs do not make a right originated in Dublin. One is introduced for the first time to pre-marital sex in Dubliners. She regarded the pillows for a long time and the sight of them awoke in her mind secret amiable memories. (Joyce p. 59) Joyce writing about sex before marriage would be considered a sin itself in early 1900 Dublin. Times have not changed much from back then, the women would still be labeled the whore and the man would go unaccounted for.
That is not the case in this ending. Mrs. Mooney is not about to let Mr. Doran, the man who has been sleeping with her daughter, get away that easily. Just because it was a boarding house does not mean she was going to allow the hit and run routine. Assuming that he was a man of honor, and he had simply abused her hospitality. He was thirty-four or thirty-five years of age, so that youth could not be pleaded as his excuse; nor could ignorance be his excuse since he was a man who had seen something of the world. (The Gale Group, 1996. . 160-181. )
Again the men in Dubliners seem to be responsible for causing dilemmas in each given story. Mr. Doran was not an innocent man, because he had sexual relations with a girl half his age. While he was filling his need for mature affection, Polly was filling her head with empty hopes. Joyce showed religious conflict in The Boarding House between Polly and Mr. Doran. This could have been an everyday occurrence in Dublin, but no one had the courage to write about it except for Joyce. Dubliners, was Joyces moment of glory.
His goal was to inform those who were thousands of miles away, what the daily situations were in the diverse town of Dublin. Joyce accuses his town of being filled with sex crazed drunken idiots. Dublin is a center of creative energy and Joyce utilizes that to its fullest potential. Joyce wrote how religion was too complex and how sometimes it did not serve any purpose. Catholic Church for what he saw as its complicity in the religious and cultural oppression suffered by its faithful. (Gale Research, 1997) It is ironic for this Irish born writer to have such animosity towards religion.
Though after reading Dubliners it is easy to understand how he could come to such an opinion. Joyce reported to his brother Stanislaus that a colleague at the Berlitz language school had tweaked him about his ambiguous irreverence:(Journal of Modern Greek Studies 17. 1 1999 107-124) He says I will die Catholic because I am always moping in and out of the Greek Churches and am a believer at heart: whereas in my opinion I am incapable of belief of any kind. (Letters II: 89) James Joyce in his mind started a religion of his own and if he died being the only follower his face would still wear a smile.