Dubliners: Discussing the Strategy of James Joyce

Essay by PopeCharlesCollege, UndergraduateA, May 2004

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James Joyce uses different tactics to portray life and confront different issues in Ireland in his book, Dubliners. Joyce creates his characters with great detail and explanation. For instance, no eight-year-old boy uses "very truculent, grey and massive, with black cavernous nostrils and circled by a scanty white fur" to describe a dead man's face like he does in "The Sisters" (8). His use of language and different scenarios in Dubliners are, at times, not realistic, but they implant an image of the situation in the reader's mind.

"Ah, well, he's gone to a better world" (8). Joyce uses euphemism in this scene of "The Sisters." He also uses ellipsis when Nannie asks "Did he ..... peacefully" (9) regarding the death of Father Flynn. The "....." marks the omission of a word, which is most likely "die" in this case. Joyce used these themes of euphemism and ellipsis to alleviate the pain suffered in sensitive issues like death among Dubliners.

But the language Nannie uses sometimes seems insincere or even perfunctory. She seems to be misleading her sister Eliza by sounding overly concerned about the death of Father Flynn and expressing this feeling only because she feels an obligation. Also, the boy himself feels an obligation to feel somewhat liberated by the death of his friend, Father Flynn. Being the first time that the boy deals with death, he feels pressured to be upset but he

never genuinely feels that way. Through Eliza and the boy's insincerity, Joyce portrays his belief that there is a general feeling of social obligations or required ways to act.

The "Two Gallants" is Joyce's depiction of sordid men in Dublin. Lenehan takes money from his friends. Corley seduces women into sleeping with him. In the story he accepts the money of a woman who...