Dubliners-Symbolism of Fire

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Flames have been inextricably linked with humanity since the origins of the first civilizations; immortalized in myth, commended by culture, and worshipped in religion. The epitome of heat and warmth, of energy, power and action, fire’s virtues undoubtedly support the importance it is associated with. Flames keep back the encroaching darkness, the perennial cold. It is the internal flame that sparks the innovation and creativity within the human mind and the external fire that has allowed for humans to advance. Fire has been powering human advancement and invention for millennia, a source of energy for the furnace of mankind. In James Joyce’s novel Dubliners, Joyce incorporates fire and flames; however Joyce’s use of fire is not to shed light on the jovial atmosphere of Dublin. Rather Joyce’s pervasive use of flame in a minor state and its noticeable absence, serves to exemplify the decaying nature of Dublin as well as the enervation and dissipation of the spirits and moral of its inhabitants. Fire has had its roots mutually tied to humanity since the dawn of both forces and subsequently epitomizes the hope, faith and innovation of man. In Greek mythology the titan Prometheus brought fire to mankind, an act, which signaled the age of humanity. Though the veracity of such a legend is dubitable there is no doubt that the presence of control of fire has enabled humans to better themselves; by allowing them to advance in technology, to survive in the harsh world of cold and predators. In society, fire has come to signify action, love, power, and justice. Flames project protection and haven from the ever-present cold and from the dangers of the world. However fire is not merely limited to the physical substantiate but also the metaphorical and figurative realms. The blaze inside an individual signifies the motivation, the indicative drive to carry on and succeed in the face of difficulty or struggle. The polar opposite of fire is the cold, which is especially...
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