With a population of 1,009,100 today Dublin has always been a large city. It is only logical that the daily thought processes and life force of its people inevitably produce certain spiritual energy, a collective consciousness. This collective consciousness does not disappear after it is created. It is absorbed by the city itself, as it has nowhere else to go. The roads, the buildings, the bridges, and the trees gobble up this life energy. Therefore, the city becomes animate with this life force and gains a certain "psychosomatic" will. A large city then intentionally uses this asset to manipulate its inhabitants through emotions that it uses its energy and will to create. Based on these emotions the people make decisions that (as emotions generally created a uniform response) enact the will of the city. Nonetheless, because the energy and "spirit" of the city was produced by previous generations, its will must reflect the life of the past.
Therefore the emotions and actions produced by the city in present inhabitants are repetitive and regressive. James Joyce recognized this pattern and wrote his Dubliners to show this stagnation and paralysis that Dublin spread over its inhabitants. Joyce uses characterization, organization, and setting to promote this theme.
The setting of Dubliners is obviously Dublin. Joyce vividly and painstakingly describes the city to show how it uses its looks and ambiance to create emotions and reactions within its residents.
"We spent a long time walking about the noisy streets flanked by high stone walls,
watching the working of cranes and engines and often being shouted at for our
immobility by the drivers of groaning carts. It was noon when we reached the quays
and...all the laborers seemed to be eating their lunches."
Dublin creates emotions such as entrapment, glumness, and aimlessness with...