Short Story The Sisters

1234 Words5 Pages
In Joyce 's short story “The Sisters,” strange and confusing events occur that stay unexplained. Father Flynn has suffered from paralyzing strokes and dies, but his deterioration, epitomized by his laughing frenzy in a confessional box, hints that he was mentally unstable. The reader does not learn exactly what was wrong with him. Similarly, Father Flynn and the young Joyce had a relationship that Old Cotter thinks was unhealthy, but that Joyce paints as spiritual when he recalls the discussions he and Father Flynn had about Church rituals. However, the narrator also has odd dreams about Father Flynn and admits to feeling sometimes uncomfortable around him. The narrator presents just enough information so that the reader suspects Father Flynn is a malevolent figure, but never enough so that the reader can tell the full story. This technique is shown in the first paragraph of the story. Joyce thinks of the word paralysis when looking at Father Flynn’s window. He finds the word strange, like the word gnomon, a term that refers to instruments that indicate something. The narrator does exactly that: He gives suggestions and details, but fails to complete the puzzle. The presence of Father Flynn lingers throughout the story, enhancing Joyce 's experience of dealing with death and showing how a death interrupts normal human lives. Father Flynn plays a large role in the story. His approaching death makes Joyce think of the corpse, which he eventually encounters. When Father Flynn
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