British Soc & Mod Novs: Blog Post 1 (Dubliners)

Dubliners, by James Joyce (1914)

Reading List: Please read: Araby, Eveline, After the Race, The Boarding House, A Little Cloud, Counterparts, A Mother, The Dead.

Blog posts and presentations due: Monday, Sep. 25

  • Group 1: “The Boarding House”: Mr. Doran and Polly’s marriage will probably be a bad one– is this true, and why?
  • Group 2: “Eveline”: Why does Eveline panic and refuse to join Frank?

Write a post here of two paragraphs (about 200 words) discussing one of these questions; or make your post a reply to someone else’s post.

For the presentations, choose one story per group. Your presentation must present an opinion or argument; it cannot just summarize the story. You must e-mail or speak to me before your presentation to have it approved.

  1. Araby. How can you describe the narrator? Why is he so disappointed by the fair at the end? What was he expecting?
  2. Eveline. Why does Eveline panic and refuse to join Frank? Do her actions symbolize something deeper? Why does she act as she does at the end?
  3. After the Race. Why does Jimmy regret gambling with the others? What is the meaning of the story, or the meaning of “daybreak”?
  4. The Boarding House. Has either Mrs. Mooney or Polly “trapped” Mr. Doran, or does he get what he deserves?
  5. A Little Cloud. Do you sympathize with Little Chandler? Is he right to feel the way he does?
  6. Counterparts. Farrington is obviously an alcoholic; does he deserve his treatment at work? Is there a connection between his feelings and his treatment of his son?
  7. A Mother. Why does Mrs. Kearney act the way she does? Is she right to? How do you feel about her daughter?
  8. The Dead. What does the story mean? Some people believe it is about Gabriel, but others that it is about Ireland, and some critics see it as describing life itself. Can you see meaning in the story?

16 thoughts on “British Soc & Mod Novs: Blog Post 1 (Dubliners)

  1. Park Ye Jong

    2.Eveline. Why does Eveline panic and refuse to join Frank? Do her actions symbolize something deeper? Why does she act as she does at the end?

    Joyce illustrate Dubliners paralyze by showing Eveline’s hesitation. Eveline’s family doesn’t have money and his father always drink alcohol and use violence against his daughter. She is exhausted and wants to escape this poor environment. She decides to run away from her land with her lover. She almost succeeds to escape the land, but she starts to frighten and hesitate to escape even though her lover urges to board the ship. She yearns for freedom, however, she finally stays in her current situation and freedom still remain in just dream. Like Evelin, Joyce expressed the other characters who could not escape current situation in Dubliners. By illustrating these characters, Joyce tells us that Dublin’s politic situation and British’s colonialism. He gives us message that Dublin is under influence of British and it is hard to escape from it. Joyce thinks Dublin must be unchanged if Dubliners does not want to change and concerned British’s colonization will be forever. Therefore, Joyce wants people (Dubliners) read this Evelin’s episode and find enlightenment for their independence. That’s the reason why Joyce makes Eveline hesitate at the end.

  2. Kim Soyeon

    6. Counterparts

    Farrington is an alcoholic and a lazy person, and he is not a good worker. Farrington goes to drink freely during his work. He does not worry about his boss’ anger or criticism. Farrington’s companies do not stop him and lets him go out. Also, Farrington says that his boss’ criticism about him is not gentle, and he is proud of saying that. Farrington is a man of moods who likes to squander money in the pub, and he hits his family. All of his rude lines get on nerves. Farrington does not have any good sides in the novel.
    I think this stubborn man expresses repressed Ireland. When ‘Dubliners’ was written, Ireland was a colony of England. Ireland’s society was perfectly connected to England. Therefore, the writer James Joyce who had complaints expressed the main character as a violent man. When I read the novel again, I could find some proper reasons why Farrington why he acted so badly. Farrington always copies boring letters, and his boss always blames him. Girls of the pub ignore him, and he loses from an arm wrestling. Therefore, there is no connection between his violence and disobedience; Farrington just follows his nature. His behaviors cannot be justified, but now I can understand him a little. I think I can feel the biggest sadness and suppression of the Irish from ‘Counterparts’ among all of the novels of ‘Dubliners.’

  3. Suh Yujeong

    2. Eveline.

    I think Eveline still has a lingering affection, so she suddenly feels scary and panic. If she joins Frank, it means that she leaves her hometown, the neighbors and her family. Eveline wants to leave because she lives hard life. For example, she always gives her entire wages to her father and her father never gives his wages to her and he is an alcoholic. However, what if her life becomes worse, after already leaves her hometown. Moreover, Eveline feels sorry about her family. She thinks her father is becoming old and she thinks that he will miss her after she leaves. The night before she decides to leave, she recollects about what her father has done for her when she was sick, and she also recollects the promise that she will take care of her family with her mother. Eveline feels taking care of her family alone is hard and it is really hard life, but before she was about to leave, she thinks it isn’t wholly undesirable life. When I read this part, I thought that she does not want to leave.
    In conclusion, Eveline refuses to join Frank because she has a lingering affection for her family, hometown and her life in there.

  4. JongHoon Park

    Q4. The Boarding House. Has either Mrs. Mooney or Polly “trapped” Mr. Doran, or does he get what he deserves?

    I think that both Mrs. Mooney and Polly trapped Mr. Doran and there are some supporting reasons here. First of all, Mrs. Mooney was just a bystander when she noticed something was going on between Mr. Doran and Polly. Of course it is mentioned that “Mrs. Mooney thought of sending Polly back to typewriting”, but there was no specific reaction and she kept silent. Next reason is that Polly suddenly became relieved at the last part of this story. Although it appears that Polly is really sorrowful and even weeping alone in the middle of this story, I guess it is also fake due to the limitation of the place, ‘the Boarding House.’ In other words, she was cooperating with Mrs. Mooney for the ‘trap’ would have been revealed to all of the visitors including lodgers unless they had pretended together.

    So I consider the Mrs. Mooney’s observation for Polly as a strategy to deceive the others, too. In addition, it was such a perfect trap because they could be both attackers who made the trap, and victims who went through unwanted accident. In that sense, it is right that Mr. Doran is supposed to be responsible for his sin. He is already in mid-30s, which is definitely an adult’s age, and he must have controlled himself in front of the 19-year-old girl. It must not be an excuse if it is intended or not. In conclusion, Mrs. Mooney and Polly could have accomplished their purpose : Polly’s marriage through these clever plans.

  5. Magali Le Corre

    2 – Eveline

    Eveline wanted to leave her family and hometown because she did not want to live the same life as her mother nor the other families stuck here in Dublin. She has met Franck who has the same desire to leave this place and this way of life to discover something new. He represents the future and freedom. But as the departure approach, she starts remembering her mother’s last words, she also starts thinking about what could happen to her family, especially her father, once she is gone, and get scared. She is facing the past and she even slightly modifies her memory, because she forgets what her father did to her and think of him as a helpless old man. It gives her a reason to stay here. I think that Eveline acted on an impulse and that is why she stays still, emotionless, when Franck screams at her to come. When she is at the Docks, she is stuck between repeating the past or start a new life in an unknown place, in the near future. Her paralysis makes her realize that she is somewhat addicted to this life in Dublin, and she is not ready to live it.

  6. An Min Jeong

    5. A Little Cloud. Do you sympathize with Little Chandler? Is he right to feel the way he does?
    I don’t sympathize with Little Chandler. I think it is undeserved for him to sympathize with him. I will explain the reasons why I think that. I think Little Chandler is too passive. He wants to be a poet, but he even can’t read out some lines to his wife. He feels shyness about doing it. He should at least read out it to other people if he really wants to be a poet. That is to say, he should have bravery and the power of execution. He thinks the reasons he can’t be a poet are his circumstances. Because of Dublin where he lives and his family, he thinks he can’t dream a dream freely. So he vents his anger on his innocent family. He finds something mean in his wife and shouts to his child. I think why he can’t get far is his lack of the power of execution and braveness, not his circumstances.

    Also, he deludes himself too much. He thinks he might appeal to a little circle of kindred minds. He doesn’t think any acid criticism on his poetry. It shows how he pursues his revery so ardently. Therefore, I think it is not right to feel the way he does. He has to consider his position realistically. He feels inferior to Gallaher and has complaints on his circumstances. I think it is not right. He should know his position well and try to overcome his weakness. To do it, he should put an idea into practice.

  7. Minji Kim

    5. A Little Cloud. Do you sympathize with Little Chandler? Is he right to feel the way he does?

    I don’t feel pity toward Chandler. To me, Chandler seems he haven’t put much effort to his work and his feeling toward Gallaher is an inferiority complex. And also, he seems to think his current status is held up because of his wife. I also think the reason his wife not showing affection to him is because of his attitude. We don’t know how he treats his wife specifically by only seeing the given text but by looking at his mind I can assume he looks down on his wife. Even when Gallaher says, “Must get a bit stale, I should think”, which is a real assault to Chandler’s wife, he does not say a word. He is just afraid of his status and eyes watching him. He deserves his nick name which is Little Chandler so well. I don’t feel pity toward Chandler and I think if he wants to be like Gallaher, he should put an effort to his work by than just blaming his wife.

  8. Gang tae yang

    About question number 6, I think that his Treatment in his workplace can’t be considered wrong. Athough, Mr.Alleyne is a bad boss who acts like an arrogant king, we need to think what Farrington does in this story. Farrington is an alcoholic. Also, he usually drinks during his work time. So, I think that Mr.Farrington’s supervisors, if his boss was not Alleyne, have to handle to strict way. There is another reason that Farrington is handle badly. That is his supervisor’s grudge. In this story he ignored his heads order to copy the document and went to the bar to drink the beer. Also, there is a suggestion that his dissolute and irresponsible acts are happened repeatedly. So, I think that there is a reasonable reason at strict treatment to Farrington though Alleyne is a cunning man who uses well his position.
    But such treatments emphasize his inner anger and can’t change his bad custom. He consider that such treatments to him is a wrong. But he can’t resist a subject of such insults and bad treatments to him except massive rage. He only brags his friends what he emotively did to his boss in his office. Also, he idealized his past action to his friend. But he also realized that he must beg to his enemy,boss Alleyne for his job. This belief make his feelings bad. So, he tried to forget all his indignities to use a alcohol with his friend. In this bar he is a powerful and generous person. So, he can forget indignities in his work place. But, some stranger challenged him and he won the arm wrestling between Farrington and him. So, his self-esteem was hurt by some rookie.
    So, his position changed from powerful,generous man to ordinary person like in his office. That accelerates his anger because he unconsciously realizes that he is just a normal person. As a result, his accelerated anger and frustration caused by self-awareness that he is nothing move to his son who is weaker and more powerless than Farrington. In other words, His abuse to his son is a king of verification that he still can be a extraordinary man who can control someone in somewhere. But there is a funny thing in that situation: the last upcoming self-awareness of Farrington in the future. That is that he is being weaker man than his son. So, I wonder what happen in that time when he understands the inevitable situation.

  9. Jeongeun Lee

    Jimmy regrets gambling with the others because he has lost money. The amount of money he lost is not so small for him. His rich friends would not give any concern for such small money, but Jimmy is not as rich as they are. After losing his money, he realizes that he does not belong to his company. Others can afford gambling while Jimmy cannot.
    This disappointment awakes Jimmy from ignorance; Jimmy was ignorant in that he fails to find his right position. Daybreak means that a darkness blinding Jimmy from the reality has gone away, and the sun enlightens Jimmy. After the sunrise, Jimmy finally figures out his friends are different and he cannot mingle with them. When Vilona, who knows well where he belongs to unlike Jimmy, shouts daybreak, Vilona symbolizes that just like the sun, he awakes Jimmy from his vanity or hope to be like the other friends. At last, daybreak brings great disappointment for Jimmy.

  10. Yeonwoo K

    2. Eveline
    I think there are two reasons why Eveline refused to join Frank.First reason is her family. After her mother’s death, she managed her family affairs by her will. She worked in a store and took care of her family – two younger brothers and her father who always give her a hard time. She thinks her mother lived a life of commonplace sacrifices, and does not want to lead a miserable life like her – so she decided to leave with her lover, Frank. The departure time is getting closer, but Eveline stays in her home and thinks of her past days. And she writes some letters for the family members, thinking that her old father will miss her if she is gone. She seems to avoid leaving her home because of her duties, affection, and memories of her family without realizing it. And second reason is Uncertainty. Eveline thinks that her lover, Frank is the person who can save and change her life. He is a crew and he is also a symbol of freedom which is contrasted with Eveline. Eveline can freshen up her life in Buenos Aires by following Frank. But she experiences panic and paralysis when he holds out his hand for her because of uncertainty. Actually, she was thinking that her future is unclear – there are just indefinite plans and haze of illusions and she realizes it all at once. At the end of the story, there is no sign of love or farewell in her eyes. It’s a pity that she cannot leave her unfortunate everyday life because of an uncertain future.

    1. Minwoo Kim

      I do not sympathize with Little Chandler. Of course, there are some limitations in the Ireland of that time. But, he does not make any effort, just lament his misfortune. He envies his successful friend. Finally, his envy and pride of his friend change into jealousy and contempt. He just has an inferiority complex from him. He even pushes his baby with arms for the simple reason that his baby cries and interrupt reading a poetry. He uses violence. I think he is just a loser surrendering to reality not overcoming. I do not feel pity for his situation.

  11. Yena Lee

    2. Eveline

    In the beginning of the story, Eveline was supposed to get ready to leave her home as she kept saying “home”. Also, she was about to explore another life with frank whose hometown is Bueno Ayres where he had a home. Before she stood among the swaying crowd in the station at the North Wall. She was confused and panic because she felt guilty that her father was becoming old lately, and her father would miss her. She felt that she needs to be with her family. Moreover, she remembered the promise to her mother vividly, her promise to keep the home together as long as she could. I think she felt guilty again about her responsibility to take care of her family.
    At the end of the story, Eveline is described as a passive, helpless animal and it said that her eyes gave frank no sign of love or farewell or recognition. The reason why she acted as she does at the end is she was paralyzed about her situation. She couldn’t do anything even more her body. Honestly, if I were here I would do the same thing as she did. I think it would not easy decision to choose whether she leaves or not.
    I didn’t catch her action symbolizes something deeper before I read a few times and I realized that Eveline represents Ireland itself or Irish. In addition, it shows us that Ireland can’t be dependent from Ireland.

  12. Aniqah Syairah Ruslan

    4) The Boarding House. Has either Mrs. Mooney or Polly “trapped” Mr. Doran, or does he get what he deserves?

    In my opinion, the “crusts and pieces of broken bread” from breakfast in the boarding house represents Polly and “breadpudding” symbolize the marriage of Polly and Mr. Doran. Mrs. Mooney waited for the destruction of her daughter’s social value, by purposefully allowing for the rumors of affair to be exposed to the public, and used that as an argument against Mr. Doran to marry Polly, as no other men will want to marry a tainted lady during their era. Mrs. Mooney’s action can be argued as a reasonable action of a mother, however, it is unusual for a mother to allow her daughter to be involved in an affair, as Mrs. Mooney actually knew of the relationship from the very beginning. She kept her silence of the affair until the rumors spread to confront Polly, as if she was waiting for it to happen from the start. She waited for the right time to make the “breadpudding”. One can debate that she exploited her own daughter and “trapped” Mr. Doran for his money and social status, as she knows Polly likes to flirt around with the young male tenants, but they were only considered as ‘’passing time”, until a man of good wealth and position, that is Mr. Doran, comes along to marry Polly off.

    Mr. Doran on the other hand, seems to deserve this, as every action has consequences, and his is not an exception. He should have known better than to mingle with a lady of younger age and lower social status than his, as he is a well-educated man and a Catholic.

  13. Woo Chul, Shin

    1. A Little Cloud. Do you sympathize with Little Chandler? Is he right to feel the way he does?

    I sympathize with Little Chandler. He is sensitive, timid and jealous. So, he always wanted to change himself and succeed as a poet. but he is too passive and negative about surroundings to change his life. And as we see the conversation of Little Chandler and his friend, Gallaher, he even envies Gallaher’s success and is jealous of it. He thought that he could be more successful than his friend, if he had a chance. But It was wrong. He eventually failed to change his life as he faced his circumstances. In other words, he was stuck in reverse. The man who is like Little Chandler is called loser. But when I see Little Chandler, I feel some sense of kinship with him. I experienced that kind of thing. I have envied someone and had complaints about my surroundings, too. But I don’t think it is right. Little Chandler needs to get out of his paralysis and change his circumstances surrounding him.

  14. Minyoung Hong

    I choose to answer question number 7. Mrs. Kearney is a mother to a girl named Kathleen, who was to play the piano during the four sets of concert. She is a very annoying, obnoxious and arrogant woman. She looks down on every musicians participating in the concert and even the concert director, Mr. Hollohan. When Mr. Hollohan and Mr. Fitzpatrick refused to pay her daughter up straight, she must have felt that she didn’t deserve this kind of attitude from these miserly men. It must have been like, “How dare you?”
    In a way, I understand why she acted the way she did. She was nagging and annoying, but still, she was trying to protect her daughter’s right instead of her. Contract is contract. However, she was too near-sighted to know that she ruined her and her daughter’s reputation and career in Dublin. And this pitiful daughter of hers is just like a plant, who has the potential of being just as obnoxious and stuck-up as her mother, as the children learn from their parents.

  15. Seal Hanbin

    3. After the Race. Why does Jimmy regret gambling with the others? What is the meaning of the story, or the meaning of “daybreak”?

    Superficially, this is because Jimmy lost games, and therefore he lost a great deal of money. It was painful for him to lose money and he felt some sort of regret about his stupidity behind his drunkenness. It looks like he didn’t feel much sorrow and he was quite calm at that moment because of alcohol and the elevated ambience, but it doesn’t. In fact, he felt a great deal of bitterness unconsciously. It means he is not like the others. He is not a conventional rich man, which is wealth is inherited by ancestors for generations. He is a so-called parvenu, as his father made a fortune, starting to work as a butcher. As you might know, butcher is not a admirable profession, rather traditionally recognized as a low class job. So, it is understandable that Jimmy’s perspective and values are different from his real rich friends. Jimmy realized ,only after the game, playing cards with his rich friends was stupid in that what he lost was nothing to them. Then, he was quite shocked.

    “Daybreak” means disenchanment. Jimmy considered himself upper-middle class, for he was highly educated and economically well supported. He tried to keep up with his friends’ standard. He was deluded into thinking that he well adjusted to the group and he was an equal member of that. However, it was a midsummer night’s dream like the victory of the race and destroyed overnight. As the daybreak came along, he recognized his illusion and like daybreak, his illusion was broken by the natural course of time. The recognition has a series of process: distress – pretending to be good – regret – agitation – realization. This process is also identical to paralysis, which penetrates deeply into all the stories of Dubliners. In Dubliners, paralysis is like a rite of passage, its format differs from each story though. Every single character undergoes paralysis. For Jimmy, it is disillusionment.

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