James Joyce and "The Dead"

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It has been said that if people wish to see change in the world then they must be bold both in action and in speech. At the turn of the twentieth century and the beginning of the modern literature movement the words of James Joyce became embodied the bold architecture of creating change through writing.

James Joyce was born James Augustus Alyosius Joyce on February 2, 1882 in the small Rathgar borough of Dublin, Ireland (Dettmar). James Joyce's family was of meager means as his father was in a constant state of financial and social decline which caused the family to move constantly, "each one less genteel and more shabby than the previous" (Greenblatt). Joyce's mother, Mary Jane Murray Joyce, on the other hand is described by Richard Ellman, James' biographer, as the person who brought peace to the family situation and was a stronghold for Joyce (Dettmar).

James Joyce began his Catholic education at Clongowes Wood College as well as Belvedere College, both of which "were Jesuit institutions and were normal roads to the priesthood (Greenblatt). Joyce then attended University College in Dublin where he studied modern languages (Greenblatt). In the same way that many youth find reasons for rebelling against their present lifestyle and circumstance, so too did James. Yet for James, the rebellion was much more than many would imagine for such a young man. While many young children and teenagers find fault in their parents, Joyce on the other hand "regarded himself as a rebel against the shabbiness and philistinism of Dublin" thus prompting his later writings and justly so all of his writings as centering around topics of his home country (Greenblatt). An interesting point about Joyce that helps to understand his drive and motivation as a writer is that he took it upon himself to learn "Dano-Norwegian in order to read Ibsen and write to him." In one of Joyce's first articles "on the Norwegian Playwright Henrik Ibsen", which was published when Joyce was...
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