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Short Stories - The Sisters By James Joyce.

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Khalid Attia English Language and Literature Mr. Parsons Short Stories The Sisters By James Joyce The story opens with a very pessimistic comment from the boy narrator, starting the story with, "there was no hope for him this time". The boy is talking about the priest who had just had his third stroke. The boy passes by the priest's window evening, as if to check up on him. Every evening he sees "the lighted square of window: and night after night it was lighted the same way, faintly and evenly". The boys asks himself that if he were dead, he "would see the reflection of candles on the darkened blind", for he "knew that two candles must be set at the head of a corpse." ...read more.


The word paralysis comes up very often in the story and in other short stories by Joyce. He uses it not just in the physical and literal meaning, but also in the mental. Old Cotter is one person who does not like the boy having anything to do with the priest. One thing about this story however is that we never get to know the boy's name. This is probably quite significant as Father Flynn is bringing the boy up to be a priest, to be like him and to follow in his footsteps. Old Cotter begins to convince the boy's uncle that it is not good for the boy's health to be friends with such an old man; he should be out with boys his age, having his childhood. ...read more.


All of these comments are very strange, showing the simplicity of the women. They are using so many clich�s that just don't fit the mood and somberness of the moment. Later on we hear that the boy broke a chalice and he feels responsible and has a nervous breakdown. At the funeral, we see the priest lying in his coffin, "an idle chalice on his breast". This is ironic; it is showing a chalice with nothing in it being reflective of the priest's life, as if he has been a failure. The whole story is based on the theme of paralysis and death and shows how the priest brainwashes the boy, trying his best to make him follow in his footsteps, as if to re-incarnate himself as the boy, to live another life but this time to do something better with it. 1 ...read more.

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