Paralysis In James Joyce's Dubliners

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The opening stories, those dealing with childhood, are written in first person narrative, through the eyes of a boy and present the beginning of paralysis describing the frustration of the boy’s increasing desire to escape from the tedious Dublin life. In each story, the child is frustrated by his environment which progressively corrupts and imposes its values on him.

In the stories of adolescence (with “adolescence” Joyce did not refer to the physical stage, but to a stage of spiritual immaturity) the characters are defeated by the obstructing fears and prejudices the city has planted in them; they are unable to react and follow their hopes (paralysis of the will) The following stories, advancing in time and expanding in scope, concern the middle years of the characters and their social, political or religious affairs.

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The Paralysis of Dublin, which Joyce wanted to portray, is caused by religion, politics, and culture. A claustrophobic element is present also in the description of the Irish family in that it tends to enclose and imprison its members, frustrating or opposing the realisation of their hopes. The characters in Dubliners are unable to react and accept passively their condition. Joyce believed that beneath the differences of personality and circumstances, his fellow citizens follow generic traits. (unity in diversity)The main theme of the collection is the failure to find a way out of “paralysis.


A sense of claustrophobia feeling caused by a sense of enclosure that many characters experience; almost all the Dubliners aspire to escape, but none of them is destined to succeed, they are unable to cut the bonds that tie them to their own
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