Dubliners is more than just a selection of short stories. Discuss.
Joyce’s Dubliners in many ways fulfils many of the literary criteria for the Irish short story, with each of the fifteen stories having the literary power to stand alone as members of the genre. However there is a continuity and connectivity between the stories, and indeed in Joyce’s work as a whole, which when exploring Joyceian works would be impossible not to discuss. Whilst it can be claimed the short story is impossible to define, attempts to classify the genre of the short story include that of Pritchett, who believes: “The novel tells us everything, whereas the short story tells us only one thing, and that intensely.” William Trevor claims that the short story is “the art of the glimpse”; each of the stories in the Dubliners provides a focused and intense glimpse of a moment in time. The intensity and drama of stories such as ‘Eveline’ focus primarily on one single choice and inaction at a critical junction in Eveline’s life display this keyhole like vision of the situation. This creation of a microworld which invites the reader to empathise with the central character, specifically through Joyce’s stream of consciousness approach. This focus on the experiences and emotions of the character allow for an immediate connection with the story which supersedes the requirement for a prior narrative or plot. An immediacy and urgency which is a typical trait of the short story is in many ways reflected in the Dubliners, whilst admittedly not always prevalent in the plot, but, in the certain moments such as the ‘epiphanies’ which repeatedly occur across the stories. Irish short story writer Brian McLaverty claims that: “In short stories every word has to count”. This limited amount of space and opportunity for extended description of the plot and situation in which an intensity and distilled nature on word choice becomes paramount. “Joyce’s writing, and particularly Finnegan’s Wake, exhibits...
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