Claudia Natoli Tle OIB1
To what extent are the short stories in Dubliners a criticism of Ireland?
James Joyce was born in the south of Dublin and had seen both sides of Ireland; he was a real Dubliner. Joyce he was part of the catholic middle-class. He wrote Dubliners in 1914. During this period there was a conflict between English and Irish as English colonized Ireland. Indeed,in The Two Gallants the English ancestry towards Irish is revealed by the places’ names such as ‘Kildare St Club’ which was named after the British colonization. Also, in The Sisters Father Flynn dies on the first of July which corresponds to the Battle of Boyne when the Catholic Ireland defeated. The choice of this specific date is not a coincidence; it has been chosen to criticize Ireland,actually to say that it is a sort of ‘dead country’.
Also, in Counterparts, Farrington’s job (to copy legal articles) shows a lack of inventiveness, but within the story antagonism between two paralysed worlds (Ireland and a more energetic outside world), we can see an inter dependence at the encounter with the London Girl.
Another strong symbol of the criticism of Ireland is the Girl inthe Two Gallants; she represents the depraved conditions under colonial rules
One of the other ways with which Ireland is criticised is the use of the colours. Indeed, in Araby the darkness of the winter symbolizes the death, the stagnation and the sterility of the country: the season is a season of ‘lack of light’ with adjectives such as ‘sombre’, ‘feeble street lights’, and ‘darkodorous stables’ which gives to the reader an impression of dirtiness.
In Ivy Day in the Committee Room, the green eyes of the old Josser represents Ireland called ‘the Emerald isle’ in opposition to the canvasser’s blue eyes.
Ireland is also criticized with the omnipresence of brown colour as when the houses are described in The Boarding House; and also with suggested colours as theallusion to ‘bacon’ and ‘bread’. We have also the recurrent yellow colour with the book in Araby or the tooth of the Encounter or also in The Boarding House with the ‘yellow streets of eggs’ which represents de decay of Ireland which depreciates it. But this colour can also symbolize a very faint light, a glimmer of hope as it is the case in The Boarding House with expressions such as ‘butter’, ‘abright Sunday morning’ and ‘the glow’.
Religion was different between these two countries, in fact English were protestants and Irish Catholics which divided Ireland in two parts : North Ireland called Ulster of which Belfast was the main city and South Ireland called Eire of which Dublin was the main city.
In The Sisters, we have a strong criticism of the Irish religion’s rules whichrepresents a world of mystery with expressions such as ‘I felt my soul receding into some pleasant and vicious religion’ and words as ‘simony’ which means to make of profit out of sacred things: here corruption is illustrated through religion to criticize it.
Also, in An Encounter the quest, this is to reach the Pigeon house, of the boys, fails. This quest could be compared to the searchfor the Holly Grail (the cup drank by Jesus Christ at the last supper). So, Irish religion is again criticised by saying that it failed.
The more obvious criticism of Irish Religion is Ivy Day in the Committee Room with the expression ‘poor clergyman or a poor actor’. Indeed, the repetition of the word ‘poor’ emphasises on the decay of Religion and makes the reader suggest that Religionrepresents the old and decaying Ireland. In the last short story, The Dead, we have also a strong criticism of the church when Aunt Kate speaks bitterly of Julia’s ill treatment by the church.
Discrimination between the two religions that are opposing can be seen with Father Butler in An Encounter when he chastises Joe for reading magazines which are said to be only for Protestants. But the...
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