Dubliners:How is it related to Modernism?

Essay by tiropitaUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, February 2004

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Reading a modernist novel entails bearing in mind a whole new world of ideas, a quite different perspective of giving life to those ideas than other written works and certainly a new aspect of accepting those ideas as a reader. It is not easy to pinpoint modernism's roots and it is also difficult to say exactly what it expresses. However, one thing that is clearly proved in a modernist novel is the fact that there is a change in the understanding of the human self and the interaction between characters and events. Perhaps the easiest way of understanding the ideology of modernism is to focus on a novel written by one of the most famous modernists concentrating on the techniques and the basic general ideas that are applied in it.

Such a famous modernist that contributed to emphasizing modernism as one of the major movements of the 20th century is considered to be James Joyce. His modernist novel Dubliners offers a tremendous possibility of pinpointing the elements of modernism through analysing its basic themes, narrative devices, structure, imagery and language. Joyce chose to name this collection of short stories Dubliners as its scene is set in Dublin. The title leads the reader to presume that it is a book about life and that it describes it as it is; but this novel regards life from one aspect only. James Joyce often presents the protagonists' motives as unworthy and their minds confused and he also tries to convince the reader that his people are as he describes them. It could be characterized as a group of short stories but a novel too, in which the separate stories of its protagonists compose one essential story, that of a human soul, which is confused and has damaged its relation to the source...