12 December 2011
Paper Assignment #6
James Joyce Strangled by Spiritual Paralysis
Stanislaus Joyce once wrote “Ireland [is] a country which has seen revolutions in every generation” (Joyce 510). But what happens when these revolutions seem to come to an end? The Irish defeated British to become an independent nation of devout Catholics. They worked harder than those beside them to keep their families out of poverty, when Ireland became over populated as a result of the Napoleonic Wars. They suffered through the Great Potato Famine, losing many loved ones in the process. The country struggled to recover after each of these tragedies, but with their triumphs brought improvement. ...view middle of the document...
In addition, an article published in the Indiana University Press, analyzes Joyce’s stories and interprets that there is a connection between the United States and Dublin through the use of the English language. The author suggests, “[I]n his Dubliners’ story, Joyce presents the United States as a model of postcolonial existence for Ireland” (American Encounters, 153). These interpretations of Joyce’s fiction support the notion of underlying themes as he critiques Dublin to promote revolution.
In the collection of short stories, Dubliners, James Joyce addresses Dublin’s devotion to religion and nationalism as main contributors to the spiritual paralysis consuming its citizens. He also attributes some of the blame toward family loyalty, which prevents many citizens in the working class from escaping paralysis and bettering their lives. Joyce explores the bonds of family and religion in his short story, “Eveline,” who, as his main character, is unable to escape Dublin strictly out of her own fear of change. In his work, “The Dead” Joyce introduces the concept of nationalism as Gabriel is interrogated about his appalling lack of interest in Ireland. Joyce embeds many of his own views in Gabriel, while trying to present the good qualities of Dublin as well. In his collection of short stories, Dubliners, James Joyce uses Irish culture to achieve a basis of the inner-workings of a paralyzed society as inspiration for the people of Dublin to embrace change.
In the short story, “Eveline”, Joyce illustrates an emphasis on family over one’s self in Irish culture through his character, Eveline, as she gives up a once in a lifetime opportunity to “keep [her] home together” (Joyce 6). Originally, she is filled with excitement in anticipation of beginning her new life with her fiancé, Frank. In contemplating what she will leave behind, she becomes struck with fear of the unknown when she realizes the toll that in her absence will take on her family. After her mother’s death, Eveline became the caretaker and provider of the household. As she considers leaving them to struggle, she becomes paralyzed in her pursuit of an unknown. In remembrance of her mother, Eveline’s mind is made up when Joyce states, “She knew the air. Strange that it should come to her that very night to remind her of the promise to her mother, her promise to keep the home together as long as she could” (Joyce 6). Eveline’s guilt becomes her excuse, as she is unable to embrace change and embark on a new life. Joyce uses Eveline to demonstrate the paralyzing affects Dublin has on its citizens, as she is unable to break her own cycle.
In addition, Joyce subtly embeds references to Catholicism in his writings to express the importance of religion in Irish society. James McMichael, author of “James Joyce Speaks”, comments, “In numerous ways… his writings reflect the catholic culture in which in his mind was formed” (McMichael 33). Although, his brother Stanislaus hints that Joyce was not...