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A Frozen Decision

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Ashley McKeon Mr. Wallace p 2 IB English 11 9 October 2008 A Frozen Decision Paralysis can be described as an inability to act, to function or, at times, even to communicate. Throughout his collection of short stories in Dubliners, James Joyce uses the theme of paralysis to portray what he thinks the people of Ireland are like. To Joyce, it seems that paralysis is like an incurable virus that will not let go no matter how hard one tries to be rid of it. This virus has infected every person in the city of Dublin and the country of Ireland as a whole. One of the short stories in Dubliners, named "Eveline," is about a young lady living in Dublin who is torn between leaving the country to live with her exciting, new husband-to-be in Argentina, or to remain in Ireland to take care of her father and go on with her everyday life. ...read more.


It is like Eveline is trapped in a certain position, and she cannot get out of it because she is so paralyzed. Her life keeps on turning in a never ending circle and she has no control. Joyce later describes Eveline as "like a helpless animal." The use of the term 'helpless' perfectly describes the young lady's position. She so clearly wants to go and leave the dull and boring life of Ireland, yet she still feels a strong need to stay. Something is holding and pulling her back, and she is helpless because of it. The images that Joyce paints in the reader's mind throughout the passage also pertain to the theme of paralysis. For example, when Eveline is at the dock awaiting her chance to escape to a new world, Joyce writes, "She stood among the swaying crowd in the station at the North Wall." ...read more.


He was drawing her into them: he would drown her. She gripped with both hands at the iron railing." it is implicated that Eveline is drowning in paralyzed fear of the decision that she has to make that will define the course of the rest of her life. She seems to be holding onto the railing for dear life because she has nothing else to grasp and she is unable to do anything while the roaring waves of her life come crashing down upon her. Through various literary devices, James Joyce purposefully portrays Eveline as being completely paralyzed and unable to take control of her own life to make her own decisions. He shows that the repetitiveness of life in Dublin has a way of taking a hold of the lives of the Irish and making them incapable of functioning on their own. The people of Dublin, in Joyce's opinion will never be able to break free of the vicious, paralyzing, cycle of their lives. ...read more.

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