General summary and personal commentary on "Grace" in James Joyces "Dubliners".

Essay by KristenphotoUniversity, Bachelor's March 2003

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"Grace" begins with a fall down the stairs for our main character Mr.

Kernan. The unconscious and drunken Mr. Kernan is carried up the stairs

and laid out on the bar floor. The manager of the bar repeatedly asks who the

man is and who he was with, but to no avail. A constable is called in to try to

solve the problem, when Mr. Powers enters and solves the mystery and

proceeds to escort Mr. Kernan home.

Upon arriving at the home of his friend, Mr. Powers learns that Mr.

Kernan had been on a drinking binge much to the chagrin of his wife. It is

obvious that she is very upset with her husband and his choice of drinking

acquaintances. Mr. Powers explain that he is not responsible for the

condition of her husband and suggest that he will try to arrange for an

intervention for her husband.

Mrs. Kernan thanks Mr. Powers for bringing

her husband home and for being a true friend.

The story now turns to a reoccurring theme in Joyce's stories, the

unfortunate tale of a woman who thinks that marriage could be the answer to

her problems. We learn that after only three weeks she finds marriage

tedious and then learns that she is pregnant. Unlike Mrs. Mooney in "The

Boarding House", Mrs. Kernan decides that even though her husband is a

drunk he is not so bad because he's not violent anymore and he will fetch

groceries when asked.

Mr. Powers keeps his word to Mrs. Kernan and has arranged for a

morally minded group of friends and associates of Mr. Kernan's to speak

with him. Mr. Cunningham a well respected and educated man, deals with a

wife that is an alcoholic and sympathizes with Mrs. Kernan...