• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the portrayal of desire and disappointment by James Joyce in the Dubliners

Extracts from this document...


Dubliners Essay - Discuss the portrayal of desire and disappointment by James Joyce in the Dubliners. Joyce said that in "Dubliners" his intention was "to write a chapter in the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because the city seemed to me the centre of paralysis; The fifteen stories which make up the collection are studies on the decay of lower middle-class urban life and the paralysis to which Joyce refers to is both intellectual and moral. The characters who appear in the stories lead uneventful and frustrated lives, which are described through carefully chosen details. In the actual stories the characters portray a sense of desire that is almost certainly followed by disappointment. In Araby we see a boy who becomes infatuated with a local girl from his neighbourhood. Joyce describes her firstly with great detail and with great beauty and emphasizes this with the use of light "her figured defined by the light". The boy becomes obsessed with her and spends all of his time watching her or waiting for her. One day she asks him to go to the bazaar and get her gift, with his infatuation with her in mind and the sense of adventure his desire took over and he accepted. The title, "Araby," also suggests escape. ...read more.


He overhears the conversation of some of the shopkeepers, who are ordinary English women, and the mundane nature of the talk drives home that there is no escape: bazaar or not, the boy is still in Dublin, and the accents of the shopkeepers remind the reader that Dublin is a colonized city. The boy has arrived too late to do any serious shopping, but quickly we see that his lateness does not matter. Any nice gift is well beyond his price range. We know, from the description of the boy's housing situation and the small sum his uncle gives him, that their financial situation is tight. Though his anticipation of the event has provided him with pleasant daydreams, reality is much harsher. He remains a prisoner of his modest means and his city. At the epiphany of Araby we see grave disappointment which we knew was going to happen by what was described leading up to the bazaar. Disappointment was shown by the description of the journey "deserted train", "ruinous houses" and by the delay that was imposed on the train. In Eveline from the opening lines we see her longing and disappointment "she sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue". ...read more.


The weight of poverty and family responsibilities bear down on this young woman heavily; her financial situation is far worse than that of the three boy narrators of the previous stories. She is trapped in an ugly situation, responsible for her brothers and sisters and the aging father who abuses her. Paralysis is a common theme in Dubliners, and poor Eveline finds herself unable to move forward. She lacks the courage and strength to make that leap that will free her of her oppressive situation. She's too scared to leave Ireland, and sees her lover as a possible source of danger: "All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. Frank was drawing her into them: he would drown her" (34). But her paralysis will cost her. Instead of an uncertain but hopeful future, she faces a certain and dismal future that may well repeat her mother's sad life story but her face at the end is not one of disappointment and shows does not show no desire but shows her duty to her family and to what her mother said. Her sense of what is right and what she actually feels is blocked by this. This is the moment of epiphany and were everything is reversed and "amid the seas she sent a cry of anguish" and she couldn't go but she knew what she faced if she stayed. By Karl Green 5M ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level James Joyce section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level James Joyce essays

  1. Analysis of Eveline

    She would not be treated as her mother had been.'. From the text itself - 'It was hard work - a hard life' , she is clearly an industrious person combining a job with looking after a household which includes two young children (maybe her nephews / nieces by her late brother Ernest - we are never told)

  2. Depiction of childhood in 'Dubliners'

    somewhat foolish for believing that he could purchase such gifts for his object of affection and his loss of hope is symbolised by 'The upper part of the hall was now completely dark', the bright lights of optimism and hope have been extinguished and the boy is left alone in the dark, 'eyes burned with anguish and anger'.

  1. James Joyce wrote "The Dubliners", a collection of short stories. One in particular called ...

    It felt like her head". Penny's surroundings represent the emotions she is feeling. For dramatic effect, modifiers, with emotive connotations to convey the stressful or frustrating situations are used: the phrase "the stench of the bottle rose" reflects the disgust and hate Penny has for her father's lifestyle.

  2. Dubliners, death and paralysis

    to the relationship forming between his wife and Mr Duffy "He had dismissed his wife so sincerly from his gallery of pleasures that he did not suspect anyone else would take an interest in her." This showed the death of the Sinico marriage they were just co existing together.

  1. Compare the use of similar themes and language devices in both 'Araby' and 'Eveline' ...

    Other suggestions of a religious theme are when the boy refers to his body being like a harp and her words and gestures being like fingers running upon the wires. Mentioned also are praises and prayers. He regularly prays about the girl.

  2. Discuss Joyce’s treatment of the theme of paralysis in the stories on childhood in ...

    An example of the tedium of school is shown through the account of Father Butler discovering Leo Dillon's book: "Everyone's heart palpitated as Leo Dillon handed up the paper and everyone assumed an innocent face. Father Butler turned over the pages frowning.

  1. "These stories are all about escape and how characters are unable to escape." ...

    a choice: "What could he do now but marry her or run away? He could not brazen it out." Mr Doran has the choice to run away, but this is not an option for "Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows everyone else's business."

  2. An analytical study of 'The Pit and The Pendulum', 'An Encounter' and 'The Pedestrian', ...

    before the 'ghastly' prospects of the character are realised; as in the heightened, almost hysterical language and excited syntax of: 'The result of the slightest struggle, how deadly! Was it likely, moreover, that the minions of the torturer had not foreseen and provided for this probability?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work