Response 3.4

April 12, 2019

Reading Assignment: “Clay,” “A Painful Case,” and “Ivy Day in the Committee Room,” from James Joyce’s Dubliners.

Writing Assignment: Write a short response to one of the stories. The prompt is open-ended: you may choose to focus on one theme that fascinates you; one character; describe a passage that you don’t understand; or detail some other response you had to the stories.

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14 Responses to “Response 3.4”

  1.   Brian Osorio said:

    So Clay focused on a woman mostly and her name was Maria. She was described as being tiny but very loving, with her nose and chin being long. (ironic) She was the peacemaker the one who did not really start any problems but was the one to diffuse them. “Everyone was so fond of Maria.” And this Joe thing with Maria seems weird as hell since Joe has a wife. (probably not weird since I am guessing this story is from back in time) Maria seems to be a very organized lady setting her alarm clock an hour back knowing tomorrow was a big event, also laying her clothes and shoes out for the next day. “She thought how much better it was to be independent and to have your own money in your pocket.” i think that quote is of importance, goes back to show that dependency is not everything, like the previous story where the lady lived as a maid in a rich household. Maria is caring and thoughtful when buying the cake she isn’t just thinking of herself she is thinking of others. Kindness and caring-ness is again seen when she is done buying the cakes and gets on the tram again with a gentleman. When she made it to Joe’s house it was like she was the inferior force, like she had no say in what she was doing. She was being controlled and then the ending was different not sure i understand its meaning fully. But i believe the song had Joe moved emotionally? I don’t know but sounds like they are kind of using Maria and innocent caring soul for their own good.

  2.   Matthew Outar said:

    James Joyce’s “Clay” introduces us to Maria, a maid who works with troubled women. In this short story we see a reliance and over emphasizes on routine. It is evident that Maria takes her job seriously and holds pride in her accuracy and precision. Joyce uses this short story to exemplify his ideologies on the dangers on constant routine. When Maria accidentally forgot the plum cake on the tram she was extremely distraught and upset with herself. She was upset that she let that man on the train distract her from her duties. While Maria is portrayed as this simple maid living a straightforward life, Joyce excellently manipulates her character to display how routine can lead to dullness or a loos or purpose in someone’s life. I believe this is a major concern during this time and it is reflected heavily through the stories written by James Joyce. Often writing to reflect the current societal challenges and expectations this story similarly follows that pattern. Many women during this tome felt trapped in this routine lifestyle that more than often led to no to real success or opportunities. By presenting Maria as this simple life maid it vividly represented how this risk of routine affects all women. I believe this is why Joyce initially makes Maria choose the clay in their Halloween festivities. The clay that represented her foreseen death symbolized her life if she remained entrapped in this routine lifestyle. James Joyce uses this story as a way to criticize the routine lifestyle of women in society during that time. He noticed the lack of opportunities this lifestyle granted and it is reflected tremendously throughout his short stories. I really like how he was able to vividly display this theme in such a short simple story. His ability to condense such a a complex issue in society into a comprehendible short story truly enriches his pieces.

  3.   Rose Fattakhov said:

    In the short story, “A Painful Case,” by James Joyce, we see another character who has a routine and does not like for it to be disturbed. Only time Mr. Duffy comes out of routine, it is to go to the opera, where he meets Mrs. Sinico. They begin to build a relationship, but because he cannot tolerate the disturbance of his daily routine, he knows he must break up their relationship. Their relationship was not sexual until one day Mrs. Sinico made an intimate move to which Mr. Duffy reacted to with complete surprise. He knows if he accepts her intimate gesture then it will change his life forever, but he cannot have that type of change. According to Mr. Duffy, his routine is pretty much set in stone. After this event, Mr Duffy ends their relationship and continues to live his routine life.
    Four years later, Mr. Duffy reads in the newspaper that Mrs. Sinico has passed away, and reacts the same way he did when she touched him intimately four years prior. As Mr. Duffy goes about his night, he realizes that his obsessive need of routine shut Mrs. Sinico from his life and he cannot live his life to its fullest potential. Even though Mr. Duffy realizes this about himself, he does not do anything other than accept it. This compares to other characters in other stories like Eveline. She realizes her routine in her hometown is keeping her from the future, but she remains in Dublin anyways.

  4.   Alinoor Rahman said:

    The story begins with Maria who is a maid at a Protestant charity which houses troubled women. She is looking forward to Halloween celebrations with her family and friends. Her friends Joe and his brother Alphy were both nursed by Maria when they were younger. They both helped her get a job. She was first hesitant to work at the charity but over time accepted it and is highly loved by the workers and residents. The time to celebrate arrives as she chats with the women as they share a toast together. Afterwards she journeys to Joe’s home. She meets a man on the train, and they chat. She arrives at Joe’s home and is greeted by his family. She is troubled since she can’t find the gift she got as a surprise gift for Joe. She thinks to herself and realizes she might’ve left it on the bus while chatting with the man.
    The conversation they have turned left very quick as they talk about the past. Maria begins to say nice things about Alphy. The brothers have an argument. Joe begins to get defensive, his wife notices and begins to change the conversation and start a Halloween game instead. They set up the table, etc, and begin the game. Maria touches the saucer with a mound that has a mound of wet clay on it. The story ends with singing a popular aria for the family, which moves Joe into tears. Unlike other stories which were previously read, this story has few conflicts and experiences. I guess the title of the story “clay” is connected somehow to the clay Maria selected in the game.

  5.   Rawdah Rahim said:

    In “ A Painful Case” Joyce maintains the theme of loneliness and how the routine that the characters are so used to following creates a dull lifestyle. Mr. Duffy’s name roots from the word “dark” in Irish shadowing the mood set throughout the story and suggest how his life might be. Mr. Duffy’s residence is symbolic in that it represents love and connection between people. The neighborhood was Mr. Duffy’s decision to reside in order to distance himself from the busy, set life of Dublin. This becomes the location of love connecting him with Mrs Sinico.
    This theme of routine is a concrete statement in all of the stories that Joyce writes in this book. In “A Little Cloud”, Little Chandlear sees life out of Dublin as an opportunity for his career as a poet. He knows Dublin is not a place to birth creativity, but he becomes indecisive about his decision to move. He wants to keep his Irish roots in his name as he builds his career in London. The story ends off with Little Chandelier confused with his decision just like in “Eveline”. Eveline debates her decision to either flee with her lover or stay back home in Dublin where she knows she would continue to live her same life. Unlike all the characters in the previous stories, Mr Duffy’s decision to move away from Dublin proves what a bright and new life outside of the routinist lifestyle can bring.

  6.   Terry Chen said:

    The story “A Painful Case” by James Joyce talks about a character called “Mr. James Duffy” who is a classic man and doesn’t like modern stuff. In addition to being a classic man, James Duffy is a very anti social and isolated man. In the story it states “He had neither companions nor friends, church nor creed”. However, Duffy’s interest in music lead to him seeing a lady several times. The lady and Duffy shared many interested and as they spend more time together, the lady began to like Duffy. The lady try to have a relationship with Duffy but knowing that she had a husband and kids Duffy attempts to avoid her. After four years, Duffy read on the news that the lady had died. The death of the lady haunted Duffy as he questioned himself if it was his fault for her death. As he questions himself, he began to feel and hear the lady’s voice. As I was reading, the lines, “He knew that the prostrate creatures down by the wall were watching him and wished him gone. No-one wanted him; he was outcast from life’s feast.” confused me. I’m not sure what the creature that is mentioned here representing. Additionally, when Duffy says “he was outcast from life’s feast” is he implying that he is not fit for this world because of his indifference and isolation to the modern world? The story ends off with Duffy returning to his isolation again as the voices and thoughts of the lady had disappeared and everything had returned back to normal.

  7.   Wenhui Ding said:

    In Clay by James Joyce, we have the theme of poverty, conflict, disconnection, escape and paralysis. Maria has a job to do in the laundry, a responsibility which she performs daily. There is no change in her routine and similar to the character Farrington in Counterparts it is Maria’s routine or repetition of her duties, which suggests the idea of paralysis for Maria. In essence, nothing changes for Maria. The color brown (meaning decay) looms largest in this story. Maria’s raincloak is brown, as is the hard hat of the man on the tram. And of course, the story’s central image, the clay itself that superstition says may mean death for Maria, is probably brown, or brownish, as well. The ending of the story is also interesting. Maria sings the first verse of the song twice, without realizing her error. It may be significant that no one tells Maria that she has made a mistake. This in turn may suggest that Maria is to continue living her life as she has, doing the same things and living the same way. In essence paralysed and escaping from the realities of the world.

  8.   Jenson Hu said:

    The story, “A Painful Case” by James Joyce talks about a man named Mr. James Duffy who is seemed to be described as someone that is anti-social. In the beginning of the story it states, ” Mr.James Duffy lived in Chapelizod because he wished to live as far as possible from the city of which he was a citizen and because he found all the other suburbs of Dublin mean, modern and pretentious.” This implies that he doesn’t like to surround himself with modern society, and live in a way that he most prefers. However, one day in the Rotunda, he finds himself sitting with a woman, named Mrs.Sinico, and her daughter. As they talked, he tries to keep this moment in his memory. The following week he sees her again in a concert, and then a third time by accident. Because he saw her for the third time, he felt the courage to make plans with her and she showed up. This was one of many plans that they’ve had. However, one day, Mrs Sinico took his hands and pressed it upon her cheeks. I find this interesting because this was a moment that made him believe that they should stop seeing each other. But yet, 4 years after they stop talking and he finds out that she dies by falling on the train track, he questions himself as to whether he was the reason that she died. He put a lot of guilt on himself even though they made no contact for a long 4 years. Near the end of the story, the story made it seem as though Mr Duffy had feelings for her because he went to take a walk where they both used to go 4 years prior, and felt that she touched his cheeks just like how he touched hers. However, after sitting under a tree, he forgets about Mrs.Sinico through his memories and realizes that he is alone.

  9.   Natalia Paredes said:

    James Joyce in his short story “Clay” tells the story of Maria a maid that worked in a charity house were they helped trouble women. Maria is described as a small woman that is not as attractive physically as her personality is, instead she had a big nose that almost touches her big chin. In the story she was invited to Joe’s house, a man that she took care of since he and his brother were babies, they considered her so much that he even said ‘mamma is mamma but Maria is my proper mother” (88). Maria felt so good about this invitation that she even chose the best clothes and brought the best cakes to bring to Joe’s house. In this story unlike other stories in the book “Dubliners” nothing much happens, and in a way that is showed as a concept in the story. The protagonist lives following the same routine every day and everybody love her at some point that in different parts of the story she gets celebrated as it happened during the tea time at the charity house and at Joe’s house. The only thing in the story that brings back the story to reality is the kind of frustration emanating from Maria based in her good but sometimes boring life. This frustration is showed in the levels of dedication and passion she put in the preparation to go to Joe’s home, first it can be concluded that she was so anxious because she was eager to go to his so-called son’s house and spend time with him and his family, but there was something deeper than that. It was fair to infer that it was the boredom of her life that made her act in that way.

  10.   Jason Jiang said:

    In “A Painful Case” by James Joyce, the story has a theme of loneliness as it is about a man named Mr Duffy who has a very dull life and doesn’t like to interact with other people. His life revolved around seclusion while following his regular routine. He didn’t have anybody to talk to until he met a married woman named Mrs Sinico who he would later develop a connection with. Mr Duffy and Mrs Sinico would continuously meet and begin to start to develop a intimate relationship until he broke off their interactions as he heard his own voice tell him “we cannot give ourselves, we are our own” after hearing this he felt the need to break off the relationship as she was already married, but later he would find out that she had died from an accident which would lead to him questioning his actions. He would blame himself for her death but would also console himself as he wanted to continue his life of solitude and would in the end he forgot about her as he stood still listening only to not hear anything.

  11.   Veronica Pena said:

    James Joyce’s story “A Painful Case” is about a man named James Duffy that lives a boring lonely life. One day during one of his visits to the opera he meets a woman named Emily Sinico and develops a close relationship with. They begin to see each other outside the opera and concerts, at Mrs. Sinico’s house. Mr. Duffy feels odd about their meetings because she is a married woman, but their encounters continue. During one of their reunions Mrs. Sinico grabs Mr. Duffy’s hand and presses it against her cheek. Disturbed by this he decides to cut ties with her. He meets with her one last time and breaks their relationship. Four years later, while reading a newspaper, he discovers that Mrs. Sinico died. He goes through a wave of emotions. At first he is angry believing she killed herself but later begins to feel sad. He realizes she was the one person that loved him and without her, he is once again alone.
    We once again see the theme of repetition in this story. Mr. Duffy lives a bland life full of routine. He is always doing the same thing and going to the same places until he meets Mrs. Sinico. She breaks his cycle of routine leaving Mr. Duffy outside of his comfort zone. This is probably the main reason he decides to cut her out of his life. She threatens the way of life he is used to. Mr. Duffy develops a relationship he doesn’t quite understand with her. When he discovers she died her feels anger towards her for allowing that to happen. In the end he feels nothing but sadness and loneliness. He learns that without Mrs. Sinico he is going to be always alone, stuck in the same cycle. Despite this he does nothing to break it. I

  12.   Navneet Kaur said:

    James Joyce story “A painful case” had a common theme that all the stories in Dubliners shared which is loneliness. In this story a man named James Duffey has a very predictable and strangely simple life. In this story Mr.Duffey had a simple basic routine that he lived by. He went work, ate at some specific restaurants and only really has one person he’d occasionally talk to Mrs.Sinicio whom he’d meet at a concert that he’d attend once in a while. This story portrayed a very sad lifestyle that becomes even more hard. As Mr.Duffey goes about his strange lifestyle one day wjen he’s dining in a restaurant in town, he reads the paper and pauses when he reads the death of his one companion mrs.silino. He knew he husband was away for work and she was often alone too. When he read the death he was at first very angry but then later that anger turned into grief. He was griffins his sole love experience, that maybe could’ve been more. This sadness resulted in him becoming weak and attempting to commit sucide to end the saddness. This short story like many of the others in Joyce’s book are strangely filled with saddness and is suspenseful. It shared a similar essence with the others.

  13.   Ayoub Janah said:

    The short story “A Painful Case” by James Joyce introduces us to the idea of how the narrator is in the state of loneliness.But we begin to speculate that he wants to be alone and lonely and it isn’t like Dublin is excluding him. As it states, “ Mr James Duffy lived in Chapelizod because he wished to live as far as possible from the city of which he was a citizen…”(95) Even though he did work in Dublin he would commute from Chapelizod to Dublin. The setting is described as bleak and dull. The way the word “iron” gets stated multiple times which shows some significance. We later get a description of the narrator’s looks and it gives us this impression that it’s harsh and wrinkled, old, etc. But soon we find that Mr. Duffy wanted to distance himself from the people in society. As it states, “He dined in an eatinghouse in george’s Street where he felt himself safe from the society of Dublin’s gilded youth and where there was a certain plain honesty…He had neither companions nor friends, church nor creed.” (96-97) The distance that he kept was for him intentionally to be alone. That is when he Mrs.Sinco connects with him in a romantic way. Mr. Duffy soon gets the news that Mrs.Sinco has died due to unknown circumstances. She was struck by a train but she may have been affected with heart failure before the accident. The tragic accident angered Mr. Duffy but it became a feeling of sadness. He speculated it was more of a attempted suicide. Mr. Duffy decides to take a walk to calm himself. But sees a couple in a park and at that moment he realizes that love isn’t meant for everyone. Loneliness and isolation may be the answer to the problems that Mr.Duffy faces.

  14.   kyle swedin said:

    The short story “A Painful Case” by James Joyce is the story I chose to write about. The story starts off with a description of this older man named Mr. Duffy. Him and his house both seem very bland at first and we come to understand that Mr. Duffy lives on the outskirts of Dublin so not quite in the city. Mr. Duffy liked to be alone and chose to be until one day when he met a lady at a concert named Mrs. Sinico. she is married with a daughter and her and Mr. Duffy slowly become good friends. Over time they meet up more and more and begin to share a very deep emotional connection with each other. They start to have these deep conversations with each other and grow closer and closer. Mr. Duffy sees himself beginning to change from the old lonely boring man he was before her. He doesn’t like this change and decides to break off their friendship. Both Duffy and Mrs. Sinico are heartbroken by this but they move past it. The story fast forwards 4 years later and Mr. Duffy is living his life how he used to – alone – and he finds out that the girl has died and was hit by the tram. He hates her for dying almost and begins to get so angry with her. He eventually feels incredibly guilty about it and we are led to believe that it was a suicide. She had been drinking all the time and lost touch with her husband and child. He feels helpless and destroyed until the very end when it is unclear if he finds his peace and quiet.

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