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What is Joyce's perception of childhood in Dublin in the late 19th/early 20th Century and how are his attitudes conveyed?

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Introduction

What is Joyce's perception of childhood in Dublin in the late 19th/early 20th Century and how are his attitudes conveyed? In the Dubliners Joyce trails the children in his stories from childhood to maturity gradually increasing in age from one story to the next. The characters in the first three stories are young enough to still entertain hopes and dreams of their adult lives and the adventures and experiences that they might have. These first three stories - 'The Sisters', 'An Encounter' and 'Araby' - are all set in the childhood stages of life. In all three of these stories the children come across as young, innocent and very na�ve. Each one of the children in each of the stories learns or discovers at least one thing about the adult world that they live in. There are three words that describe the childhood world in Dublin at this time perfectly and they are isolation, paralysis and entrapment. In 'The Sisters' the boy discovers the reality of death when a close adult friend of his dies. ...read more.

Middle

In 'An Encounter' the boy discovers the corruption of the adult world. As a child the boy believes that all adults are trusted. The boy meets this stranger and the man takes an unusual liking to the boy and pays a strange amount of attention to him. There seems to be a sexual nature about the attention that he is paying to the boy and the boy does not see this at the beginning and speaks to the man about literature and school punishments but then the boy seem to understand that this is not the way that most adults have spoken to him before and he sees that something is strange about this and so tries to get away from the man. He had not seen this side of the adult world before and he then did not know how to react towards the people around him, he understands that not everyone is to be trusted. The boy in 'Araby' has just discovered a girl that he has strong feelings for. ...read more.

Conclusion

All of the children in Dubliners live with their aunt and uncle whether this is because the children have been abandoned by their parents of have left with them due to professional or any other reason is not known, but this shows that there is a great sense of family based groups in Dublin at this time and there may not be a way of getting out of this - again, the idea of entrapment and circulation. I believe that children at the time that Joyce wrote the stories of children in the Dubliners were not aware of the dangers of the adult world around them. I think that they are very na�ve and innocent and they have a lot to learn about themselves and those around them. In these particular stories these children discover death, the corruption of adulthood and the opposite sex. These are all very important this in the development towards adolescence and then adulthood. I think that Joyce was very aware of the development of children at this time and I believe that he conveys their youth and naivety very well in the stories that he wrote. ...read more.

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