James Joyce "The Boarding House"

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The central character is Mrs. Mooney who runs the boarding house. She has had an unhappy marriage and it made her as sharp as an axe. When she gets rid of her husband she opens a boarding house. She has a son, Jack, who is "a hard case". She also has a daughter, Polly, a slim girl of nineteen who resembles a "perverse little Madonna." Mrs. Mooney is concerned about Polly’s marriage and she knows that most men are not seriously interested in her. So she decides to keep Polly in the boarding house and make her an attraction for the clients. And one day she notices that something is happening between Polly and one of the lodgers named Mr. Doran. He is a serious, quiet man of about thirty-five. He has a steady job and a good salary. And those things are very valuable for him. Mrs. Mooney decides to take advantage of this situation. She hopes he would be afraid to lose his job in case of a scandal. She says that he had "simply taken advantage of Polly’s youth and inexperience", but in fact it’s a part of her cruel manipulation. It’s important to underline that Mrs. Mooney isn’t really concerned about Polly’s honor – her only aim is to settle her daughter well, to make some prosperous man marry her unfavorable child. And Mr. Doran becomes a victim. He is a weak person, and he gives up being under strong pressure of Mrs. Mooney, her terrifying bully-son Jack and society. He has only two ways out: to run away or to marry Polly. The first variant is inappropriate for him, so he has to lose his freedom… Love is not even a consideration in this family, and the end result is the marriage based on trickery, cruelty and manipulation. But it doesn't seem to matter to Polly. She contents herself with pleasant dreams of the future and the broken life of another person doesn’t worry her. She understands that her life will be secure because trapped husband is a faithful husband. And she needs nothing more. Polly is a woman every bit as sneaky as her mother. She knows well that her...
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