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JOYCE: Dubliners

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Introduction

JOYCE: Dubliners (a) The first story in the collection- 'The Sisters'- is a particularly strange and puzzling one. Explore Joyce's use of language in the story and explain what meaning and significance the story has for you. In 'The Sisters', strange and puzzling events occur that remain unexplained. 'Dubliners' opens with 'The Sisters', which explores death and the process of remembering the dead. The story deals with a young boy's (whom is the narrator) encounter on death to a close friend (the priest) whom he cares for. When his account of the event begins, he is full of fear and unwilling to accept that the priest will actually die. Once he hears that the death has occurred he is upset and tries to hide the fact. He remembers the priest and his kindness, his scrupulous teaching in spite of his worsening illness. Father Flynn suffers from paralyzing strokes and eventually dies, but the reader never learns exactly what's wrong with him. Joyce presents just enough information so that the reader suspects, in which this case I did, Father Flynn as a malevolent figure, but never enough so that the reader knows the full story. For example, in the first paragraph of the story the narrator thinks of the word paralysis when looking at Father Flynn's window and connects the word with 'gnomon'. ...read more.

Middle

Through this narrative technique I feel that Joyce suggests that even first hand experience is in some ways voyeuristic, and that it is possible for a person to observe his or her own life from the outside. Joyce conveys many themes in 'The Sisters', for example, the theme of the intersection of life and death. I feel that the theme of life via death is central to the story. 'The Sisters' explores death and the process of remembering the dead, and the closest with the 'dead'. Another central theme in the story is again paralysis. Joyce creates the character's desires; males face obstacles till it then ultimately relents and suddenly stops all action. Theses moments of paralysis show the characters inability to change their lives. Another central theme portrayed in 'The Sisters' is betrayal. For example, the young boy feels lonely and deceived as Father Flynn passed away. Religion is another central aspect in 'The Sisters', for example references to the priest, religious beliefs and spiritual experiences. To me, Joyce portrays an unflattering portrait of religion. Father Flynn cannot keep a strong grip on the chalice and goes mad in a confessional box. Joyce marks religion's first appearance as a haunting but dangerous event of Dublin life. By closely analyzing 'The Sisters' I have came across the theme of symbolism. ...read more.

Conclusion

However at the end of the short story the boy feels liberated from the influence of ritual and religion. Joyce also conveys that the boy completes one stage in growing up, with the new awareness of the conflict and suffering of the priest. However, Father Flynn was a 'disappointed man', Joyce shows this through paralysis. Theses movements of paralysis show Father Flynn's inability to change his life and reverse the routines that hamper his wishes. Father Flynn is in a state of inaction and numbness. His stifling state appears as part of daily life in Dublin, which he has to ultimately acknowledge and accept. Although Father Flynn is a 'disappointed man' Joyce portrays an image of the priest as reflected in the boy's eyes. To me he is clearly a loveable man. This is shown to me through the boy's attachment to him, though he is repelled by his physical features. Though the sisters comments suggests father Flynn was a troubled man, he strives to teach the boy sincerely, even in his fatal illness. Yet, the final impression I get of Father Flynn is that of the symbol of paralysis and death. The talk of the sisters is reinforced by the sight of his dead face, which should have been 'smiling' but is instead 'truculent'. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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