Life’s Inevitable Routines
In Dubliners, James Joyce uses fictional stories to depict the society of Ireland during the early 1900s. During this time in Ireland, attitudes of the Irish were extremely negative and the society was regressing. Joyce uses these characters to illustrate not only the faults of the Irish people, but of all people. He is able to achieve this through the use of several different literary themes, which are used to show the humanity of the people in Ireland. The theme of journey to escape is evident in many of Joyce’s stories and is closely connected to the humanities theme of autonomy and responsibility. Through the characters everyday experiences, they have to deal with many situations that have to do with their responsibilities to society and feelings of self sufficiency. Through the overuse of alcohol, the envy of those who travel the world and the use of routines; Joyce portrays the characters as stuck in Ireland to show the desire to escape but inability to follow through. Through the overuse of alcohol Joyce gives the characters a way to escape from their thoughts in order to show there is no actual escape from the pain in their lives. During the story “Grace” Joyce says, “People had great sympathy with him for it was known that he had married an unpresentable woman who was an incurable drunkard” (Joyce 107). By using a woman as a drunk during a story, Joyce is making an attempt to break stereotypes. He is proving men are not the only ones that wish to escape the pains of the world. Because there are only two women presented as drunks during Joyce’s stories, he is showing that women tend to approach situations more rationally while men search for an outlet to dull the pain and sorrow. This can also be seen when Farrington’s situation is illustrated through Joyce saying, “He had done for himself in the office, pawned his watch, spent all his money; and he had not even got drunk” (Joyce 60). Drinking is an incredibly...
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