Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dubliners (a second story)

Choose a second story from Dubliners. Write a response below. Your response should attempt to link the story with some of the things we've talked about: Paralysis, simony, gnomon, for example, or any of the following quotations from Joyce's letters:

“I believe that composing my chapter of moral history in exactly the way I have composed it I have taken the first step toward the spiritual liberation of my country.”

“My intention was to write of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis.”

“I call the series Dubliners to betray the soul of that hemiplegia or paralysis which many consider a city.”

“…there is a certain resemblance between the mystery of the [Catholic] mass and what I am trying to do…to give people a kind of intellectual pleasure or spiritual enjoyment by converting the bread of everyday life into something that has a permanent artistic life of its own… for their mental, moral, and spiritual uplift.”

“Do you [Joyce is writing to his brother Stanislaus] see that man who has just skipped out of the way of the tram? Consider, if he had been run over, how significant every act of his would at once become. I don't mean for the police inspector. I mean for anybody who knew him. And his thoughts, for anybody that could know them. It is my idea of the significance of trivial things that I want to give the two or three unfortunate wretches who may eventually read me.”

“I have written it for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness.”

You might also consider connections to Stephen Hero (Joyce's first version of the story that letter became A Portrait): " By an epiphany [Stephen Dedalus] meant ‘a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself… He told Cranly that the clock of the Ballast Office was capable of an epiphany…Yes, said Stephen. I will pass it time after time, allude to it, refer to it, catch a glimpse of it. It is only an item in the catalogue of Dublin's street furniture. Then all at once I see it and I know at once what it is: epiphany."

Or A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man -- an artist is “a priest of eternal imagination, transmuting the daily bread of experience into the radiant body of everliving life…The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, paring his fingernails.”


Katina T said...

Katina T.
"A Painful Case"

In “A Painful Case” from Dubliners, relates to the concepts of paralysis, the significance of trivial things, and epiphanies. In the story, Mr. Duffy is stuck in a state of obvious paralysis. He goes through the same routine everyday, and rarely swerves from it. He describes his life as “rolled out evenly” and “an adventure less tale”. But on occasion, he attends the Rotunda (a performing arts center). During one of these occasions, he meets a married woman, Mrs. Sinico, who he eventually has an affair with. Mrs. Sinico brings a change to his life, instead of his usual routine. Their relationship is new and exciting, which makes Mr. Duffy uncomfortable. As Mrs. Sinico gives him signs of love, Mr. Duffy immediately steps away from the relationship. Just like many of the other cases of the Dubliners, Mr. Duffy could not leave behind his old routine. He is happy with Mrs. Sinico, but the thought of emotional attachments scares Mr. Duffy. He distances himself from Mrs. Sinico, and again goes back to his normal routine, where he is paralyzed in his old routine once again.

He doesn’t hear anything from her for four years, until he reads about her death in the newspaper. Ironically enough, she gets hit by a train, which is also what Joyce mentions in a letter to his brother, about a man who actually misses getting hit by a tram. Joyce talks about the “what if” aspects of it if he had actually been hit by a train. He ponders of how every single little action of the man has some sort of significance to others around him. This holds similarity to how Mrs. Sinico actually was hit by a train, and has an impact on Mr. Duffy. Someone whom Mr. Duffy has not had contact with in four years, now causes a huge epiphany. He began to think of all of his memories with her, and wonders about what he could have done differently. Finally after living a life of consistency, he thinks about what changes he could have made.

Alive, Mrs. Sinico was the one person who came close to being a companion of Mr. Duffy, but could never make him realize his state of paralysis. Only in death, does Mrs. Sinico open Mr. Duffy’s eyes. He has an epiphany of the cold lonely life he lives. Joyce represents a true Dubliner in Mr. Duffy, because even after Mr. Duffy realizes the lonely life he leads, he is still too afraid to change his routine. It is clear that he will return to his old ways when he symbolically “turned back the way he had come.” As he does this, Joyce says, “He began to doubt…that he was alone.” Despite his regrets of his constant routine, he still remains paralyzed, unable to break free.

Anonymous said...

“A Painful Case” from Dubliners
Sarah Al-Edwan

Mr. James Duffy in A Painful Case by James Joyce reveals the common aspect of paralysis and hopefulness which can be found through out Dubliners. Mr. Duffy is a man who lives his life in constant routine. He is stuck, or paralyzed in his life which lacks companionship and excitement. He is described as gloomy, and that “his cheek bones also gave his face a harsh character, but there was no harshness in the eyes..”. In the story Mr. Duffy continues to live his regular life until he casually meets Mrs. Sinico, who he eventually begins an affair with. Their affair continues for a while until Mr. Duffy becomes uncomfortable with where it is going. Although he took the adventurous risk of an affair, when it becomes to serious they break it off. For four years Mr. Duffy returns to his paralysis, and the excitement and chance of breaking away from his old life is completely lost when he reads of Mrs. Sinico’s death in the paper. He becomes confused and contemplates whether or not his abandonment from her caused her death.
Also in a letter to his brother Joyce reveals the significance of every little person and their actions, just as Mrs. Sinico’s death had such an effect on someone who was no longer in relationship with. “Consider, if he had been run over, how significant every act of his would at once become….I mean for anybody who knew him. And his thoughts, for anybody that could know them” shows the significance about how every person on our lives can have a serious outcome on who we are and what we become.
A Painful Case shares the theme of paralysis and hope that can be found through out James Joyce’s Dubliners. It also shares the thought’s on significance of trivial things from Joyce’s letter to his brother. Mr. Duffy is a man who is stuck in his regular life, only to possibly get out of it with the assistance of Mrs. Sinico. When they break off the affair, and she later dies that hope is lost from his to ever escape his paralysis.

Brianna A said...

“The Sisters”

In this short story James Joyce writes in the perspective of a boy who has just lost his priest who was a close friend, Father Flynn. Joyce starts off the story with the boy thinking about the word paralysis and how it sounds strange just like the word gnomon and simony. Father Flynn was paralyzed because as we find out later in the story he was sick and perhaps mentally unstable. The boy is uncomfortable with his relationship with Father Flynn because he does care about him, enough to visit him often and always check that he is alive. However, the boy hides his emotions from his family when they tell him about his friend’s death, and he has trouble going to house to mourn later. The boy’s relationship with Father Flynn is a two way street, he is both taught things about Latin and the church but he also provides comfort and company to the Father in his last days. This relationship is very unlike Stephen and any of his fathers although the boy experiences lack of comfort and confusion about his feelings much like Stephen does. Joyce uses the words like gnomon and simony to depict issues within Dublin itself. The boy also connects these feelings with fear but curiosity a lot like Stephen did with temptation and sin. “But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent and sinful being. It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work.” The temptation and closeness he felt to fear and death reflects in his lack of comfort getting closer to a priest and to the priesthood. Death might also intrigue him because of the closeness that Father Flynn is to death and because he has God on his side the next step is something the boy can not imagine yet. These themes in all of Joyce’s stories and reflect how he believes in spiritually liberating his country from paralysis. Joyce loves to force characters into awkward situations to reveal their paralysis such as Stephen’s struggle to form into an artist or the boys struggle to deal with the unusual relationship with his priest.

Nick B said...

The Dubliners story “A Painful Case” is a sad tale of a man, Mr. Duffy, who cannot manage to find happiness in his life. He’s a very private, boring person who has very little passion for anything. Occasionally he’ll attend an opera or a concert, but for the most part he simply commutes to his job at a downtown bank and returns home to a quite, solitary night. Though he does not particularly enjoy his life of recluse, he doesn’t dream of a more eventful and sociable life either.
One night, while watching a play at the Rotunda (a performing arts venue in Dublin), he is startled by a small converse with a woman sitting next to him. Though he is unused to such interactions, he finds it a pleasant change from silence. After seeing the woman, Mrs. Sinico, twice more at various venues, he is prompted by his liking for her to invite her out for an appointment. Thus their non-courting begins.
They meet often and go for long walks through the gathering dusk. He finds he can talk easily to her about his deepest thoughts, with her always an avid listener. Her husband is a seafaring merchant, and is completely oblivious to his wife and her life. Eventually these increasingly intimate meetings, which eventually move to Mr. Duffy’s House, grow to be too much. Mrs. Sinico makes a physical move on him; she “caught up his hand passionately and pressed it to her cheek.”
Mr. Duffy immediately breaks off their relationship, as he is against anything underhand like cheating. Until then they had both been pretending to themselves that it was a merely friendly relationship, but with that encounter in the air, they couldn’t hold up the illusion any longer. Mr. Duffy soon returns to his boring life of solitude, and proceeds alone through his mundane life for four years.
One evening, while reading the Mail, the local newspaper, he sees an article labeled “A Painful Case”. Apparently Mrs. Sinico got caught in front of a tram and was immediately killed. Though I’m sure that Mr. Duffy was heart-broken on the inside that he let her get away from him forever, he deals with his pain in an abnormal way. He bad-mouths Mrs. Sinico to himself, pretending he’s glad that he broke off their relationship before she became a worthless drunk. He is also disgusted at himself that he confided his most intimate feelings in a person like that. This is a poignant tale of a lonely man and his chance, and subsequent failure, at a happier life.

Molly A said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Molly A said...

"A Painful Case"

A Painful Case from Dubliners, by James Joyce focuses greatly on the idea of paralysis. Mr. James Duffy, the protagonist of the short story, experiences the inability to change his secluded, anti-social, and repelling personality. Joyce writes, “He performed these two social duties for old dignity’ sake but conceded nothing further to the conventions which regulate the civic life”, to represent an endless cycle, with no break in the pattern for Mr. Duffy to escape through. He is independent, “He had himself bought every article of furniture in the room…” and obsessed with order: “Mr. Duffy abhorred anything which betokened physical or mental disorder” two traits that surely sentence one to be, ultimately, alone.

When he meets Mrs. Sinico, his personality has a temporary desire to branch out and connect. He never feels conformable, however, with the secrecy of their relationship, and is often in denial that she is more than an acquaintance. Joyce writes, “Mr. Duffy… had a distaste for underhand ways and, finding they were compelled to meet stealthily, he forced her to ask him to her house” In instances when Mrs. Sinico shows undeniable affection, his reflexive reaction is to leave her. “..They walked in silence toward the tram; but here she begun to tremble so violently that fearing another collapse on her part, he bade her good-bye quickly and left her.” He cares, and he consistently acknowledges that. However, the combination of their morally-wrong connection and his inability to wholly connect with another person restricts him.

When Mr. Duffy finds that Mrs. Sinico has died, his immediate reaction is to be angry, appalled, and embarrassed, not experiencing any emotion that actually copes with the sadness in the fact that she died, “The whole narrative of her death revolted him and it revolted him to think that he had ever spoken to her of what he held sacred”. However, there is a shift, an image that illustrates the realization and pain of his loss, “The sock which had first attacked his stomach was now attacking his nerves… The cold air met him on the threshold; it crept into the sleeves of his coat.” It is the moment of self-realization for Mr. Duffy: that if only he had embraced the companionship that was offered, his life would not be as lonesome. That despite the moral wrongness of it all, he had ignored an offering of love from someone he undoubtedly loved in return. “One human being had seemed to love him and he had denied her life and happiness.” That fact alone, the understanding of what he had lost, inspires him to remain that way. He had lost all that was worth having; and he never escapes his loneliness.

amycarpenter57 said...

In the short story “Araby” the unknown protagonist attempts to go to a fair one evening. His biggest motivation is that he wishes to buy something for one of his friend’s sister, whom he has a crush on. He asks permission from his uncle in the morning to go in the evening and his uncle says he can. But the boy cannot go without money and must wait until the uncle comes home from work until he can go. As it gets later and later it looks like the boy won’t be able to go to Araby. When the uncle finally comes home at nine o’clock he said he had forgotten but the boy does get to go and hurries across town to the bazaar. However, by the time he gets there half of the fair is closed and “I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.”

This story has a very large theme of paralysis in it. First there is the boy not being able to go to Araby because of his uncle. The frustration and aggravation the main character goes through is just painful. Then, there is the internal paralysis of the main character. He really wants to impress this girl but he becomes disgusted with himself as he tries to make himself look good to her. The story ends right there. The main character escapes one paralysis by finally going to Araby but discovers his own flaws there and we never see him resolve them.

Andrew Ryan said...

Andrew Ryan


In the story Eveline, the main character Eveline feels saddened by the loss of her childhood connections with her society. With her mother and brother dead, her friends either dead or living far away and with an abusive father, Eveline feels distant and alone from her society. Eveline plans on running away with her boyfriend Frank to Buenos Ayres to escape her father’s threats but she feels guilty leaving her other brother and father alone. Eveline frequently recalls events from her childhood when things were better to help comfort her. These memories of her mother before she died and her father when he was happy soothe her when she gets frustrated with her father. Eveline enjoys remembering the past because they free her from the reality of herself. Eveline is getting older and feels paralyzed in her life. Debating whether or not to leave with Frank and live a life of bliss or to stay with her family and care for them. By leaving she feels she will be abandoning her family and leaving them to fend for themselves. This dilemma discombobulates Eveline to the point where she cannot board the boat to Buenos Ayres with Frank. During this scene where she is about to board the boat, the tension is extremely high and is exacerbated by the sounds of the boat. While Eveline is dreading the moment where she has to board the boat blows “a long mournful whistle into the mist.” This scene reveals that despite Eveline’s need to escape she cannot complete the follow-through. Eveline is paralyzed with fear not only because she will be losing her family but because she has never left home. As described in the story, Eveline has watched the neighborhood grow since she was a child, and even though she despises her current situation, she feels comfortable with her surroundings. She is comforted knowing how each day will go. By being regiment in life, she is afraid to breakout from her personal boundaries.
Eveline’s relationship with Frank is estranged because she does not really love him. She is only using him to escape from her personal issues with her family. Eveline says, “Frank would save her. He would give her life, perhaps love, too. But she wanted to live. Why should she be unhappy? She had a right to happiness. Frank would take her in his arms, fold her in his arms. He would save her.” By Eveline saying, “He would give her life, perhaps love, too”, she reveals to the reader that the main reason she is marrying Frank is to be saved. Being loved by him is just an additional bonus. This quote seems to show that Eveline could have married anyone as long as they would free her from her family. The idea of Eveline wanting to get away from her family yet feeling she has to stay is a juxtaposition which makes for the foreground of the story. Due to her father and his abusive ways, Eveline does not understand what true love is since she has never received it. Frank is only used as a gateway toward freedom.
Eveline’s desire to be capricious is based off of her mother’s life, which according to Eveline was dull. Eveline wants more in life and does not want to end her life with nothing to be proud of. She knows that she’s getting older and that time is running out. Eveline is afraid that she is becoming stuck and paralyzed which expresses constantly but only with her words. By only talking about leaving, Eveline remains fixed in her life and sadly will die this way if she does not act on it.

nFrye said...

N. Frye

Joyce uses the short story "Araby" to give form to the concept of paralysis. The links between the protagonist and Joyce's perceptions of paralysis within Dublin are written throughout the very small yet rich story. Joyce's style of writing also lends to the idea of paralysis.

The protagonist, while not given a name (which adds to Joyce's ability to apply the short stories that he writes to the many people of Dublin), faces a situation that many young boys encounter as they grow: he falls in love, or, rather, falls into a fog of adoration. Yet, while the main character considers himself completely in love, he is paralyzed by his nerves and hardly ever speaks to the young woman.

When, at last, he is able to "converse" (if one can even call it that), he becomes so enraptured that he cannot bring himself to focus upon any other aspects of his life. He is trapped within that one state of mind and cannot move past it (another form of paralysis).

The protagonist anticipates the evening that he would be able to go to Araby, a local fair, and find a gift for the girl that he so admires. As he waits for his uncle to return home in order to take him, it is possible to see that the main character is anxious. It does not appear that his uncle is typically reliable. And of course, the protagonist is not proven wrong. The pattern does not change, the uncle does not keep a promise. This paralysis is one of behavior and emotion. It follows a cycle of promise and disappointment implied by the way in which the protagonist speaks of his uncle as well as the boy's anxiety.

Even the way in which Joyce writes the short story implies paralysis. The entire plot hinges on a cycle of excitement and then a later disappointment. The reader gradually grows more expectant of disappointment as the story progresses, thus, by the end of the story, there is no true surprise that the boy could not find something for the girl that he is so fond of. While the story has a sadness to it, the manner in which Joyce writes it makes the rollercoaster of anticipation then letdown predictable and more commonplace. It becomes a cycle that the plot is stuck in. Thus, a paralysis.

Francesco P said...

In Araby, we encounter a boy, who, driven by the aspirations of his disillusionments, is led to the ‘epiphany’ of his disappointing reality. The setting of the neighborhood of North Richmond Street, which the boy and local kids play at, carries a dreary and dark ethos. The boys find their enjoyment, via their youthful vigor, by recklessly running in companionship within the somber alleys. The boy is offered an escape from the dismal gloom of the Dublin streets by the conceptualization of Mangan’s sister. Always underneath a defining luminescence, the sister represents a source of light, inspiration, and perhaps love within the boy’s vapid life. The existence of the contrast in itself causes him to romanticize her, conceptualizing her beyond the scope of reality. Doing this so that he may have an intense motivation to have a passion, a fire that can illuminate the darkness within the mundane. He lives within a world which his body judges is not worthy of senses, and this itself is the drive that brings Mangan’s sister incessantly into his mind. “I was thankful that I could see so little. All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and, feeling that I was about to slip from them, I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembles, murmuring: O Love! O Love! Many times.” He uses his conceptualized love of the sister here to redeem the senses that are slipping away from listless inactivity.
On their eventual genuine encounter she provides him an endeavor: to obtain something for her from the local market called Araby. Finally wielding a tangible passion, his consciousness’s attention becomes absorbed for its fulfillment. “I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desires, seemed to me child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play.” By having attained his considered passion and aspiration, he feels as though he has ascended to adulthood, leaving behind the mundane, which he mistakenly deems as ‘child’s’ play. When finally reaching Araby, the preconceived reality of the glamorous marketplace he expected collapses before him. What he aspired for, in the grand notion of a place which would yield an ideal gift that was the manifestation of his desire for life and passion, was rather a decrepit, dark and empty market, concerned more for the sixpence in his pocket, rather than the suffocating desire for fervor within his heart.

Anonymous said...

In Araby, by James Joyce, we are introduced to the main character being a younger boy who likes to run around his neighborhood with a friend. He lives with is aunt and uncle. He has a crush on his friend’s sister. For a long time he is in paralysis because he cannot bring himself to talk to her. When he finally does he finds out that she is in paralysis herself. She wants to attend a fair, called Aray but instead must go on a retreat with the church. The house that the unnamed protagonist lives in was the home of a priest who died. The air is described as stale, which sublimely portrays an image of paralysis. The protagonist says that he will go to the fair for the girl. His uncle will not let him go before he gets home. The paralysis of being stuck at home is showed because the uncle is home late because he said he forgot. Eventually the main character gets to go, but everything is starting to close up, and he feels alienated because he goes into a craft booth ran by three English people, and he is Irish. He ends up walking down the middle of the street, not yet buying anything.

The story shows paralysis in a few different circumstances, for a few of the characters in the story. The bit about the priest dying and the girl not being able to go to the fair both seem significant because Joyce has written about religion being oppressive. The way that the narrator waits for his uncle reminds me of paralysis because he cannot just leave for the fair. In past readings of Joyce there have also been families that will not let the child “grow”, and do things for themselves. Yet another instance of paralysis is the fact that they boy cannot talk to the girl he likes, for whatever reason. Paralysis is a prominent factor in this story from Dubliners.

Meredith S said...

“Araby” by James Joyce is a short story which demonstrates his opinion of people in Dublin being “paralyzed.” The story is told from the perspective of a nameless narrator who lives in Dublin. His dreams and thoughts constantly collide with reality, causing him to desperately want things he knows nothing about. He resents life because it is inferior to his imagination (“I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play.”) This puts him in a state of mental paralysis.
The idea of paralysis is also evident when he describes the sister of one of his friends, a girl he admires. He watches her leave her house next-door everyday and anticipates buying her a gift at Araby, a bazaar which she cannot attend. He is so dramatic about his admiration for her that it becomes evident that he is blurring the line between the reality of the girl and his own idea of her. Most of his idea of her is based off of pure imagination since he reveals that he barely knows her (“I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.”) Nevertheless, his invented state of mind is what allows him to escape from his mundane life of schoolwork and other tedious business.
When thinking of the bazaar, the narrator says that the word Araby casts an “Eastern enchantment” over him. When he arrives at the fair and looks for a gift for the girl, he finds only ordinary teacup vendors instead of the exotic Eastern extravaganza of his dreams. His state of mental paralysis is somewhat self-realized when he chooses to not buy a gift for the girl. His final thought of seeing himself, “as a creature driven and derided by vanity” shows that he understands that, like the word Araby, he has completely exaggerated the image of the girl to suit his own need for escape in his monotonous life.

Sabrina said...

As the story begins with Eveline talking about her childhood and all of the people she grew up with, the reader gets a sense of comfort of where she is. The description of her leaning against the window looking out to at the same place that looks different shows that although Eveline is comforted by her home, things have changed. For example, the whole structure of the neighborhood and the fields she played in are different now that someone had come in and built “bright brick houses with shining roofs.” Also, all of her childhood friends moved away or died. Eveline is stuck. This paralysis is for a few reasons. First, Eveline is in her home where she has been her whole life. Now that her father has become vicious, since her mother died – there is no protection for her. “Even now, though she’s nineteen, she sometimes felt herself in danger of her father’s violence.” So, she feels like her new boyfriend, Frank, can save her. But, Eveline is paralyzed in this case because she made a promise to her mother before she died. Eveline promised her mom, “her promise to keep the home together as long as she could,” but since Eveline feels that she is running out of time, she thinks Frank can “save” her. But, at the end of the story, she is torn and ends up not leaving with Frank to get away from everything. This is strong paralysis of the character. Because of her surroundings, she is too connected to where she is to leave it. Eveline ends up settling for a somewhat hopeless life rather than being saved by Frank. But, like A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Eveline does what she wants rather than what is supposed to make her happy; the same way that Stephen decides that even if his religion is supposed to be good for him, he rebels and does what he thinks is right. “She stood among the swaying crowd in the station,” ---“he would drown her,” these two quotes show what she is feeling in the end, paralyzed. Eveline cannot stop what is happening, but she can stay and do nothing. So, this is what she does, nothing. She does not leave.

B Shay said...


Paralysis is the a loss or impairment of voluntary movement in a character. In “Eveline” we have a young woman who is incapable of doing anything with her life. Her life started great, but as her friends move away and her family started dying off all she is left with is memories and dust. Everyday she wakes up and goes to work to support her and her father. This is not what she want’s, for she is often in tear’s walking home from work because of her boss. This girl is alone, and if nothing intervenes this story would probably keep repeating and repeating.
Though one day a boy who she had been having a secret relationship with asked her to go with him to Buenos Aires to marry. This is the escape the girl need’s to break the repetition of her life. Though when it came time for her to get on the boat, she turned around firmly and never looked back at the boy. The young woman was so overcome by an organ player the night before that she subconsciencly changed her mind. The organ player reminded her of her mother and that she once told her to keep the house together as long as she possibly could. Running away from the house and her father would be ignoring her mother’s last wishes.
This decision ultimately leaves the girl back where she started, barley getting by living with her strict father and boss. Now at least she understands that she isn’t alone in this business. Her mother most likely went through the same thing, desperately trying support a family of kid’s who would always go hiding in the field next door. Not to mention that behind all the discipline, her father most likely loves his daughter because she is all he has also. The character’s in the story “Eveline” don’t seem to make any physical ground in this story, but certainly gain an understanding of who they are.