The Influence Of Alcohol In James Joyce's Short Stories

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The presence of alcohol has varying importance throughout James Joyce’s collection of short stories, “Dubliners”. While having little impact on earlier stories focusing on younger protagonists, the influence of alcohol increases in later stories involving adult life. Joyce uses alcohol to symbolize different things in the character’s lives. Some stories mention alcohol in passing while others, showcases how it can completely take hold of a person’s life. Three short stories that highlight the various influences of alcohol are After the Race, Counterparts, and A Painful Case. After the Race focuses on Jimmy Doyle and his efforts to fit into the social circle of the affluent students from Cambridge University. He lives a carefree lifestyle that is supported by his father, who sees his son’s indulgence in excess as a sign of success. Alcohol plays a role in the end of the story when Jimmy and his circle of friends are drunk in a party while gambling their money away. "Jimmy did not know exactly who was winning but he knew that he…show more content…
Farrington works as a copy clerk in a firm and have failed to duplicate an important document for his boss. Stressed by having been berated, Farrington sneaks out of the office in order to grab a drink at the local pub despite having a strict deadline to turn in the document. Here, it is shown that Farrington uses alcohol to cope with his stress and it is portrayed as somewhat of an addiction to him. "A spasm of rage gripped his throat for a few moments and then passed, leaving after it a sharp sensation of thirst. The man recognized the sensation and felt that the must have a good night's drinking." Joyce describes Farrington’s desire for a drink similarly to withdraw symptoms from other drugs. His eagerness to sate his thirst overshadows the urgency of the task at hand and he gives in to its control despite risking losing his
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