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In Dubliners the stories are linked by the theme of Paralysis.

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Introduction

"In Dubliners the stories are linked by the theme of Paralysis. Discuss with close reference to at least two stories. James Joyce's Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories focusing on Dublin life. In all 15 stories the theme of paralysis is at the centre. During the twentieth century, Dublin itself was trapped in paralysis because Ireland was under British rule and the strict orders of the Catholic Church. Irish people could not break free and had no opportunity to lead independent live with free will. James Joyce himself lived in the city during this time and experienced first hand the restrictions faced by many Dubliners. This may explain Joyce's own exile from the country. Joyce told his brother that Dublin "is suffering from hemiplegia of the will" by which he meant that the people of Dublin were paralysed from acting or living decisively or with any free will. He moved to Paris but returned to Dublin were he met his future wife. They moved away from Ireland and lived in several places, such as Italy. Joyce died in Zurich in 1941. The characters in Joyce's stories are trapped some way or another, whether it's by family, religion, work or just routine. ...read more.

Middle

They suffer paralysis in school as they are locked - up and trapped in the monotony of daily routine. They arrange to meet the following day but Leo doesn't show up, which could suggest that he is stuck or trapped in his daily routine and when he does get the chance of adventure it scares him. The two boys make their way to the docks and on the way two lower class boys throw stones at them, calling them "swaddlers" thinking they were protestant, which links into the theme of religion and Joyce's life in Dublin. At this time there was tension between the two religions. They get to the boats, which they see as a way of escape out of Ireland, and travel across the water to go to the pigeon house. By the time they arrive they are too tired and too late to go to the pigeon house. Their day out has been a failure, as has been their attempt to escape. They went into a field to lie down on a slope where they meet a man who keeps walking past them, back and forth, repeatedly, again reinforcing the monotony of routine. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mr Duffy is first angered but then is saddened by her death. He feels disgusted by her death and his connections with her, assuming she committed suicide. 'Mr Duffy abhorred anything which betokened physical or mental disorder.' He goes for a walk, it is dark outside and as the night continues he begins to feel remorse for ending their relationship and losing the love that was offered. On seeing a pair of lovers, he realises that he gave up the only love he had ever experienced and he feels utterly alone. Here we see his epiphany. He realises that his concern to have an ordered life shut her out. But instead of acting on his realisation, he accepts his loneliness. Therefore, despite Mr Duffy's self-realisation that he is trapped in routine, and the guilt he feels over Mrs Sinico, he is paralysed and cannot change and therefore, the story ends as it begun, with Mr Duffy alone. Characters in these all stories are trapped in a world they seem to detest but none of them can carry through their dreams of escape, love and adventure because they are stuck in paralysis. Unlike his protagonists however, James Joyce did manage to escape from the bleak city of Dublin, living most of his adult life in Italy and Switzerland. ...read more.

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