Explore the character of Bob Doran from James Joyce's "The Boarding House"

Essay by isabellamargaretUniversity, Bachelor'sA, October 2006

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The word weak has several different definitions. If someone is said to be a weak person, it could mean that he or she is not physically or mentally very strong, or that they most likely would be easily defeated, and also that they have no strength of character. There is quite an abundance of weak people all around the world, and the character of Bob Doran from James Joyce's "The Boarding House," is certainly one of those people. Bob Doran symbolizes this weakness by being pressured by the Dublin society, having no ability to form his own opinions, and becoming deathly afraid of not fitting into the context of his society. These heavy influences stem in most part from the enormous pressures of the Irish Catholic church.

Bob Doran feels pressures from all directions in this story. He feels social pressures from his employer, his reputation, and as most Catholics would: he feels a great deal of guilt over his affair with Mrs.

Mooney's young daughter, Polly. As Joyce mentions, "the affair would be sure to be talked of and his employer would be certain to hear or it." (Paragraph 11) Just the pressure of losing his job alone is enough for him. His job is very important to him, this is shown when it says, "all his long years of service gone for nothing! All his industry and diligence thrown away!"

Bob Doran is most definitely not in control of what is happening to him. The reason behind his lack of control is because he has allowed himself to become weak. His weakness is shown very vividly in many areas of the story. One example of his weakness is shown when Joyce states, "but sin was there; even his sense of honor told him that reparation must...