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

'The sisters' and 'An encounter' - Considering in detail one o two passages, discuss Joyce's treatment of the church in Dubliners.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Considering in detail one o two passages, discuss Joyce's treatment of the church in Dubliners The two passages that I will be examining are from The Sisters and An Encounter. The first passage from The Sisters begins "But no," and continues to the end of the story. The second passage from An Encounter begins "After a long while his monologue paused," and again, continues to the end. Both passages clearly show Joyce's strong (and sometimes contrasting) opinions towards the church, but first it helps to understand what this entails. There are three key areas pertaining to the church: religion, Catholicism and dogma (used indirectly to comment on the Catholic Church's seemingly mundane and repetitive rituals). Joyce attacks the church itself through satire and allegories, but his treatment of religion is a more interesting matter: his images (such as that of the damaged chalice in The Sisters and the lonely "Pigeon House" in An Encounter) ...read more.

Middle

Through this allegory Joyce makes an ironic comment on the flawed (and initially deceptive) symbolism (the act of placing the chalice on the breast) used to disguise the breakdown of Catholic system. Why does this breakdown occur? There is much evidence to suggest that Joyce's main target is dogma within the Catholic Church, and it is at this point where symbols become blurred - does his hatred of religious dogma reflect a deeper resentment of the repetitive, retentive banality of Dublin or is he claiming that Dublin has only stagnated because of Catholicism's fixation with ritual and ceremony? Both claims are true to a degree, although the dominant idea is that of religion instilling a fondness for ritual and ceremony: as the church fails to provide spiritual comfort people turn to a substitute (often Joyce satirically describes alcoholism as a formal procedure of sorts, where it is integrated into the mind of the drinker) ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus we can see that Joyce had some faith, although it is unclear what outlet this took: his approach to atheism is recorded in A Painful Case (showing a desire to transcend faith and achieve the status of a Nietzschean ´┐Żbermensch) and An Encounter, where the "queer old josser" (through his desire to "whip" children) represents the Puritanical desire for purging all sins through sadism. The repetition of words and the use of ellipses lend a trance-like quality to the passage and his monologue is like a perverted sermon. Looking at these extremes, I think that much of the aggression and cynicism present in Dubliners comes from an inability on Joyce's part to reconcile the two - one of the functions of his biblical allusions is to describe a time when religion was pure and untainted by any intermediary. Mr. Duffy cannot achieve perfection ironically because of a ridiculous adherence to dogma (Joyce even writes, "his life rolled out evenly - an adventureless tale") and the "queer old josser" falls victim to exactly the same problem. ...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. Depiction of childhood in 'Dubliners'

    Yet again 'Eveline', the final story depicting childhood, focuses on the longing to escape the dreary city of Dublin. However, in this situation the young woman we encounter has been given a chance at escape, unlike the other young male narrators we have met in the previous stories.

  2. Dubliners, The Sisters

    Paralysis is a major theme in this first story. Many of the characters are emotionally paralysed. The priest in 'The Sisters' has a stroke and is physically paralysed. Joyce makes this as a symbol of emotionalised paralysis of other characters. This paralysis is caused by a combination of factors such as drink, poverty, the church etc.

  1. The Boarding House, written by James Joyce, takes place in a small neighborhood located ...

    She knows well that her mother will take care of things for her. Where as water obscures Mr. Doran's vision, it clarifies Polly's sight as she contemplates her situation. "She dipped the end of the towel in the water-jug and refreshed her eyes with the cool water.

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

    The girl just seems to be walking in a beam of light or is the beacon of light in his darkness of Dublin.

  1. The plight of the individual is most pertinently expressed through the plight of women ...

    We also see financial manipulation and oppression of women by the men around them in 'Two Gallants'. Here the male figure is, deliberately named as in Irish this would be pronounced horely, or more appropriately whorely. This is appropriate because as we see in the novel he manipulates the 'slavey'

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

    [We had] lain on the bank for some time without speaking'. Through creating such an ominous, yet 'dying' atmosphere - sentences slowly becoming shorter, more concise (defeating imaginative possibility as displayed by the boys hitherto) and less picturesque use of vocabulary - Joyce signals the need for new themes to be introduced.

  1. Looking at the denouement of The Dead, discuss the emotional variety of Gabriel.

    the word "brutal" is used again in reference to the language he wishes to shout out and he has to restrain himself. He longs to, "Cry to her from his soul, to crush her body against his, to overmaster her."

  2. Discuss Joyce's treatment of women in Dubliners, Portrait and selected chapters of Ulysses.

    Many, Joyce implies, take the path of Annie Joyce Essay Imran Hussain Chandler, who reacts to marital frustration by bullying her timorous husband and loving greatly her infant son. Both Catholic piety and Celtic sentimental attitudes cloak repressed sexual hostilities that adhere to the dark underside of Irish life.

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