4/3 – Response 3.1

April 1, 2019

Reading Assignment: Please read the stories “The Sisters,” “An Encounter,” and “Araby” from Dubliners by James Joyce. (You can find a PDF under the readings tab.) I would like for you to read all of the stories, but we will concentrate our class discussion on “Sisters” and “Araby.”

Writing Assignment: Joyce’s collection of short stories all take place in the city Dublin, Ireland, set at the beginning of the 20th century. In a short response, describe your impression of how Joyce introduces the city and the people living in it. What sort of thematic concerns are presented? What do you notice about his storytelling style? In short, what is your first impression of Dubliners?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

12 Responses to “4/3 – Response 3.1”

  1.   Ayoub Janah said:

    The book, “Dubliners” is written by: James Joyce as she brings up themes that have a deep contextual meaning using the culture, religion, and society of Dublin, Ireland. Each of the short stories are written in a way that may relate to the reader or give readers a whole different experience that is being shown through various characters. Most of the stories are based of middle or poor social classes that are seen how they deal with situations. Each of these characters in the various stories faced real life different experiences. The first story brings up the idea of how religion specifically Christianity has become corrupted in the city of Dublin. We are introduced to the narrator who begins to feel a presence of his friend Father Flynn who is about to pass away in the coming days. The journey that readers take with the narrator puts us on our toes as we begin to see how he is dealing with the death of this priest. As Old Cotter brings up the bad news about the death, the narrator feels nothing and brushes it off. But is yet to still in the state of denial as it states, “The reading of the card persuaded me that he was dead and I was disturbed to find myself at check.”(99) Even though the narrator was clearly told in the beginning he was trying to not grasp the idea of death alone. The story soon begins to unravel as Old Cotter brings up the idea that both Father Flynn and the narrator had an unhealthy relationship and the narrator begins to associate certain words to this very priest. Such as “Paralysis, or “Gnomon” and “Simony.” The way Father Flynn dies leads to readers to believe he was mentally unstable as he laughed hysterically in a confession booth. Much of the characters that attend the funeral end of not eating during it and may be symbolic as they may have felt death in life as well. They are paralyzed in doing what they may desire to do because of Father Flynn’s death. As it states, “She pressed me to take some cream crackers also but I declined because I thought I would make too much noise eating them.” The chalice that Father flynn holds may have a sentimental presence in his life. But when he is in his coffin he can’t grasp it, and slips of his hands. This very moment was symbolic as it showed how religion has become corrupt in society. As it may lead readers to question the intentions and position that a Church may have in society. Much of the other stories bring up religion as it’s a common theme during the time this was written. James Joyce, the 20th century influential writer leaves readers speechless about how the culture, social class, and importantly religion may have an impact in the city of Dublin.

  2.   Rawdah Rahim said:

    Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories written by James Joyce. The stories have strange, puzzling events that go on to be unexplained. Reading the first three passages, I feel as if Joyce writes for the audience to relate and reflect on themselves. “The Sister” has a religious connotation to it. The narrators and the aunts’ inability to eat and speak during their visit to the sisters and their aunts’ inability to speak or eat while visiting their sisters, aligns to a feeling of paralysis, connecting it to what Father Flynn had suffered from. This link between the paralysis and religion follows a common theme that intertwines with Father Flynn and continues throughout the further stories in the book. When “The Sisters” story opens with the Dubliner gazing through a window, this symbolizes a sense of detachment and silence from the outside world as the Dubliner is reflecting on a situation. The name of the narrator is kept disclosed throughout the story into “An Encounter” and “Araby.” “The Encounter” storyline follows the unnamed narrator and his friend Mahony whose imaginations unleashed through stories and are inspired to take the roles of “cowboy and Indian” battles set in the Wild West. Both agree to explore together. On their mission, they encounter an older man who rips their innocence through sexual conversation that included his fantasies of whipping Mahony. This experience leaves the narrator in a state of shock as he remains in his position even after the elderly man has left, relating to that theme of paralysis. Through narrative technique, Joyce reinforces in her stories that even first-hand experience is in some ways paraphilic and that a person can observe his or her own life from the outside.

  3.   Rose Fattakhov said:

    “Dubliners” is made up of a bunch of short stories which contain strange and puzzling events that remain unexplained. In “The Sisters,” by James Joyce Father Flynn suffers from a stroke which leaves him paralyzed and he eventually dies. The time leading up to his death suggested that he was also mentally unstable. This is also left unexplained because the reader does not know exactly what happened to him. The tone of the story feels uncomfortable, which related to the same the narrator feels around Father Flynn and has strange dreams about him. We know there is something off about Father Flynn, but the author never presents enough information for us to figure it out. Joyce continues to do this throughout the text. He presents ideas, and then never goes on to complete them leaving them unfinished and open for interpretation.

    Once Father Flynn dies, his physical presence remains present throughout the story. This shows how the narrator is dealing with this death and how it is interrupting his normal daily activities. When the sisters are eating, drinking, and talking in the final scene, the narrator refuses to eat crackers because they would be too loud. This shows that Father Flynn’s presence is still lingering and the narrator feels as if he would disturb him with the sound of chewing the cracker. Also, his aunt asks questions about Father Flynn’s death but is unable to speak about it. This shows the sense of paralysis the narrator and his aunt are feeling, which connects to the paralysis that Father Flynn suffered after his stroke.

  4.   Navneet Kaur said:

    Dubliners by James Joyce includes many short stories that all are very strange events that can be difficult to analyze. Between all three of the stories “The Sisters”, “An Encounter”, “Araby” I found the first story to be the most interesting. It had a twist that was really hard to fathom. I think Joyce included the little boy to foreshadow the death of the father. The little boy was a strange character and was kind of unfitting in the story. This same strange character then appeared again in the next story “An Encounter”. The strange man that the boys saw had the same vibe as the little boy in “The Sisters”. This mysterious and unexplainable event was a common way that Joyce wrote throughout all the stories. I think this is an interesting way to write but at the same time can be a little conflicting to interpret the exact idea that Joyce would’ve wanted me to pick up.

  5.   Terry Chen said:

    James Joyce’s story of “The Sisters” suggested that the people living within the city were pretty close and friendly. In addition, the story also suggested that it was a peaceful city as it states “The drapery consisted mainly of children’s bootees and umbrellas and on ordinary days a notice used to hang in the window, saying Umbrellas Recovered”. The notice of lost shoes and umbrellas shows the people of this city is courteous and kind. Furthermore, Joyce’s way of describing the city gives the reading an impression of how the sidewalks were in the 1890s. Joyce states that “I walked away slowly along the sunny side of the street, reading all the theatrical advertisements in the shop-windows as I went”. This line puts an image in the readers mind of how old stores had advertisements in the windows. Moreover, Joyce’s writing style is very descriptive but puzzling at the same time. Within the story there were many mysteries such as the unfinished sentences within the dialogues between characters. For example, it states “Though I was angry with old Cotter for alluding to me as a child I puzzled my head to extract meanings from his unfinished sentences”. Furthermore, Joyce puts a decent amount of emphasis on characters smiles. For example,”When he smiled he used to uncover his big discolored teeth and let his tongue lie upon his lower lip”. Joyce mentions smile a few more times within the story and this also supports the idea of how Joyce’s writing style is very descriptive.

  6.   Brian Osorio said:

    After reading the three stories I can come up with that James Joyce is a unique writer. I found myself not being able to understand some points in the story but i can say his work is somewhat interesting. There are some sinister points and i think the stories are connected in some sort of way. You can find the same words being used in all three stories which is pretty interesting. Overall his works did not really give me an understanding of anything, but that might mean i have to give it a second read.

  7.   Wenhui Ding said:

    James Joyce’s Dubliners is a collection of short stories centering on various characters who are inhabitants of Dublin. There appear to be certain common themes inherent in the tales. Many of the stories involve people who become disenchanted or at least discouraged in some way with their own aspirations and ideals. The first theme is paralysis. A good illustration of this occurs in the story “The Sisters”. In the first line of “Sisters,” there is the obvious fact that Father Flynn has suffered a third stroke, which leaves him paralysed. There is another fact that Father Flynn wanted to visit the old home where he was born, though never got the opportunity. Again this inaction would suggest a paralysis. Joyce also appears to be using Father Flynn’s teeth as symbolism. From “When he smiled he used to uncover his big discoloured teeth”, the discoloured teeth (yellow color) mirrors the decay and paralysis of the Catholic Church. The “Araby” story has a common theme with The”sister. In “Araby,” the boy is infatuated with a girl in his neighborhood. The boy promises to buy her a present from the bazaar. The boy is delayed in leaving to go to the bazaar as his uncle returns late from work with the money. When he finally does arrive, the bazaar is over. His fantasies about the bazaar and buying a great gift for the girl are dashed by the realities of life in Dublin. It is related to the theme of paralysis. About his storytelling style, Joyce shows us the worst aspects of Dublin life and not depict them with exaggerated emotion.

  8.   Dejun Gao said:

    “Dubliners” is written by James Joyce.He used the culture, religion, and society of Dublin in the themes for the story. Each short story are showing the readers a whole different experience. Also most of the short stories are talking about the middle class of the society, and how they are dealing with the problems in life. He also used same words in all those short stories.

  9.   Alinoor Rahman said:

    James Joyce wrote “The Sisters,” “An Encounter,” and “Araby.” The title “sisters” is what really what first caught my attention out of all three works. It is so simple yet it expresses greater intent. Besides that all of his James” characters seem to be from Dublin. Although I think I should read it a few more times a common them that is brought up multiple times seems to be discouragement within a lot of the characters. Specifically sisters seems to revolve around a bot who is having an internal/external conflict within himself with the death of an important person in his life. The narrator comes home to find out father Flynn has passed away. This is not surprise as Flynn had been suffering from a stroke that had left him paralyzed for some time. The narrators friend’s (Mr. Cottor) and family have much their own opinions about the the narrators relationship with the priest as well. He is eventually angered by his parents about his decisions making skills, etc and ends up having dreadful dreams about the priest. A common them is the narrator and his struggle with rationalizing his death and dealing with insanity. This was my favorite out of the 3, the others were a bit harder for me to fully understand but I’m sure reading them over should be helpful

  10.   Jenson Hu said:

    Joyce introduces the city and the people living in it by calling them peaceful, and full of people who are nice. For example, in “An Encounter” the first paragraph describes the setting as having a “peaceful odour” due to Mrs Dillon’s smell, and in “Araby”, the setting is known as being a quiet street with people having decent lives in the neighborhood. Some thematic concerns brought up by these stories are religion, and the living conditions of those portrayed in each story. In “The Sisters” and “Araby” they talk about a priest who died, which could have potential to be relating to each other. In addition, these stories show that they don’t have the best living condition. In “The Sisters”, the narrator has to deal with the death of a friend. In “An Encounter” there were school boys being whipped, and in “Araby” the narrator is angry with not being able to satisfy his love life.

  11.   Jason Jiang said:

    Dubliners are a bunch of short stories written by James Joyce. Each story is very strange and have weird events that go on in them. When Joyce introduces the city of Dublin, Ireland and the people living in it my impression of it is that the people who lived in the city seemed poor or middle class and the people had various troubles and are dealing with certain situations. The concerns that are presented is how religion has corrupted the city of Dublin as in the story Father Flynn passed away and he was mentally ill with the characters in the story trying to cope with his loss. The way James Joyce tells his story isn’t through one continuous story, but multiple stories that when read one after the other creates this picture that a single whole complete story creates also.

  12.   kyle swedin said:

    The three short stories in the Dubliners by James Joyce all seem to have a connection between them. My first impression of the story Araby is that its about a naive boy who desperately wants the attention and affection of a young girl in the story. He has developed almost an obsession over her and cant get her out of his head. the stories have a dark vibe to them as well with the last line of the story being, “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity: and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.” This line especially sticks out to me because I felt that since the boy wasn’t able to get something for the girl he was filled with rage. He is easily angered and showed his dark side as the Bazaar closed. The darkness took over him and was depressing because at the end everything was shutting down and closing. The stories seem to share a connection because the priest mentioned in Araby could have possibly been the priest mentioned in Sisters but there is no solid relation between them.

Leave a Reply