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How does James Joyce Portray Women in

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Introduction

How Does James Joyce Portray Women in Dubliners? James Joyce's Dubliners, published in 1914, is a collection of fifteen short stories. In each tale there lies an undercurrent of sadness that becomes evident by the end. This sadness is certainly exemplified by Joyce's portrayal of the plight of women in early twentieth century Dublin. The Women in the stories are portrayed as victims, weak slaves in a male dominated world, but is there more to these women than their empty, lonely and depressed lives? How does James Joyce Portray Women in Dubliners? In answering this question we will consider a range of different characters from a selection of the Dubliners stories, including "The Sisters", "A Painful Case" and "Eveline". We will direct our attention to the effects of male dominance, maintaining the focus on the states of the women as opposed to the actions of men. We will examine how Joyce portrays the suffering of his women in what can almost be described as progressive stages: from muted powerlessness to desperation, to tragedy, then to sacrifice and martyrdom, and finally rising to hope and optimism. The women in Dubliners, although unrelated, travel full-circle together in depicting Joyce's political message on behalf of his beloved Ireland. ...read more.

Middle

Ultimately her feeling of loss leads to her death, she had had a taste of happiness with Mr Duffy and could not help but fall in love. When he broke it off, she could not deal with going back to her old lonely life. This is certainly a bitter end to the life of a troubled soul, whom Joyce portrays so tragically. Mrs Sinico may be perceived as the author's physical representation of the tragic political oppression of his own nation. Woman is the embodiment of Ireland, a state quashed by the oppressing masculine Britain. Mrs Sinico's long and quiet suffering reflects Ireland's own subordination to its powerful superior. Joyce portrays her strong defiance as a parallel to that of his country. Mrs Sinico chooses to end her life in order to avoid continuous suffering. Perhaps Joyce is attempting to highlight, as a political message to the rest of the world, the extent of Ireland's tragic suffering at the hands of the tyrannous Britain. The women of the Dubliners are depicted as lower class citizens to men, only worthy of respect when they get married or if they are related to someone of high status in the community. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yet still, where there is dark, Joyce presents a spark of hope in the very fact that the women are aware of their sad positions, and still long for more. Joyce uses his women to project a political message of his nationalist sympathies. He portrays them as beaten-down and oppressed but urges that they have the dignity, resilience and strength to go on- just as Ireland strived for Home Rule and continued to push for independence. Joyce is reminding us that where there is spirit and strength, there is always hope. For example Eveline, despite her unintelligence, desires respect, and Mrs Emily Sinico recognises that she is in a loveless marriage and so longs for the companionship that she so rightfully deserves. At first glance modern readers may despise Joyce's early twentieth century Irish women, for their lack of courage and willing servitude to a world so cruel and domineering. However, upon closer inspection it becomes evident through Joyce's tender and sympathetic portrayal that in each trodden-down woman there resides a quiet dignity and sense of hope, which bestows upon her certain strength unlike any other- a strength which is also embodied by Ireland, a country he loved so much. Jeffrey Nelson 1 ...read more.

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