Besides everything already said at
the glossing of
Portrait I would like to add the following about Dubliners:
Take a look at the
Sparks note on the subject and also take a look at what Wikipedia
has to say about it.
If it does not apeal to you or you
are in a hurry, read this: (from
James Joyce's Dubliners was published
in 1914, and it was his first major work of fiction (he'd put out a book of
poems a few years earlier). This collection of 15 short stories is important
for several reasons. For one thing, it shows us how Joyce, who went on to write
innovative and complex Modernist texts like Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, got
his start writing simpler tales with more conventional prose. It's also notable
as a portrait of middle- and working-class life in Ireland during a complicated
period, when the country was struggling towards independence from England and
its citizens were searching for a uniquely Irish identity.
If you take a close look at the protagonists
in each of these stories, you'll notice an interesting pattern: the first stories
are all about children, and as the book progresses, it moves on to stories about
young people and adults, finally ending with a middle-aged man looking back
over his life in the last story, 'The Dead.' In a neat literary trick, the book
progresses the way a human life progresses.
The Sisters: A young boy and
his aunt visit two sisters, who are keeping watch over the body of their brother,
An Encounter: Two boys skip
class and gallivant around Dublin, till a meeting with a strangely lecherous
old man frightens the narrator into retreat.
Araby: A bazaar called Araby
provides the opportunity for a young boy to purchase a gift for his crush, the
sister of a friend. However, he returns empty-handed.
Eveline: The title character
has to make a decision: should she elope with her sweetheart to Argentina? At
the critical moment, she abandons the plan.
After the Race: A young student
tries to keep up with appearances, but foolishly spends all his money at the
Two Gallants: Two down-on-their-luck
drifters, Corley and Lenehan, plot to swindle a maid who works in a fancy house.
The Boarding House: Mrs. Mooney
urges things along towards a marriage proposal when she sees sparks between
her daughter, Polly, and one of her tenants.
A Little Cloud: Dinner with
an old friend provokes Little Chandler to rethink his own life, including his
failed ambitions as a writer and his sparkless marriage.
Counterparts: The frustrated
alcoholic Farrington behaves violently in the pub, then goes home and beats
Clay: The hardworking Maria
goes to visit Joe and his family. She remembers how she used to take care of
Joe when he was little.
A Painful Case: Mr. Duffy
has feelings for Miss Sinico, but his prudishness causes him to end the affair.
Four years later he learns that she has died and is filled with regret.
Ivy Day in the Commitment Room:
Ivy Day celebrates the legacy of the famous Irish nationalist, Charles Parnell.
In this story a group of political workers reflect on their work life and Parnell's
A Mother: Mrs. Kearney is
an overly ambitious mother who embarrasses herself and her daughter Kathleen
during a concert.
Grace: A group of friends
hope that religion can help straighten out the bumbling drinker Tom Kernan.
The Dead: Probably the most
famous story in 'Dubliners', it follows Gabriel and his wife as they attend
a party. Overcome by melancholy, Gabriel reminisces about his life and considers