Theme Of Obstruction In James Joyce's Dubliners

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In James Joyce’s collection of short stories, Dubliners he expands upon the constraints that afflict the citizens of Dublin, Ireland, particularly the ones that prompt them to consider escape. Three narratives establish a frustrated wish to abandon their current lives, but the characters involved face obstruction in many forms: a boy in “The Sisters” attempts to cope with sexual abuse; an infatuated boy idealizes and obsesses over an underwhelming bazaar in “Araby”; and a young woman contemplates leaving her abusive and unprofitable life in “Eveline.” In this paper, I will argue that in Dubliners James Joyce presents vignettes of the seemingly ordinary citizen and reveals their internal struggles through their desire to flee from these problems.…show more content…
Next, I will explore the narrator’s misconceptions on love and the Middle East, and his wishes to desert his mundane home in “Araby.” Finally, I will explain the protagonist’s inability to leave Dublin despite her domestic and occupational misery in “Eveline.” Dubliner’s “The Sisters” features an unnamed boy who narrates the aftermath of a priest’s death, and he vaguely recalls their inappropriate relationship with implications of pedophilia. The short story beings with the boy as he comprehends that Father Flynn has died, though the child’s tone appears unattached and distant. This offers reason for suspicion to the reader as a child would normally behave differently at the news of a dead friend. They should express grief, confusion, or even disappointment at least. Instead, the narrator maintains his composure and reacts minimally when Mr. Cotter brings up the clergyman’s passing. Old Cotter also hints that the priest harbored malicious secrets regarding his interactions with the boy: “’I have my own theory about it,’ he said. ‘I think it was one of those… peculiar cases… But it’s hard to say…” (Joyce 1). With no any direct accusations, he…show more content…
Mentally tainted by the horrors he experienced under the James Flynn’s, he fantasizes of faraway lands and extravagant settings: “I felt that I had been very far away, in some land where the customs were strange—in Persia, I thought....” (4). The specificity demands further analysis; a Catholic boy’s thoughts should lead to simplicity and God, not exotic images. The empire presents itself as indulgent, ornamental, and vivacious. Though the dream fosters sinful characterization of him, the underlying tones show a boy who wants nothing more than an escape. It pollutes his mind enough that he regresses from Christianity, the heaviest reminder of Father Flynn and his villainy. The antagonism of the priest also appears in the dream prior to the one of Persia. The child describes a room with “long velvet curtains and a swinging lamp of antique fashion,” (*). Returning to the point of simony’s role in “The Sisters,” the affluent elements defining this room perpetuate the dynamic between the sexual predator and corruption within the church. Normally, clerical men could not purchase such luxuries at their disposal unless they involved themselves in the bribery of simony; the slight inclusion of these images adds to the faults held by Father Flynn. Their sexual encounters corrode the nephew’s subconscious to where he idealizes an unknown land in his
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