The Boarding House

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  • Topic: Boarding house, The Boarding House, Dubliners
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  • Published : May 16, 2011
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THE BOARDING HOUSE

The Boarding House is included in Dubliners, a collection of fifteen short stories by the Irish poet and novelist James Joyce, which was first published in 1914. This story of a boarding house, like the other stories in Dubliners, describes the lives of ordinary citizens of Dublin and illustrates their various qualities. There are three main characters - Mrs. Mooney, her daughter Polly and Mr. Doran. At the very beginning the author describes Mrs. Mooney, who relinquished a family traditional business - the butchery, and set up a boarding house in Hardwicke Street. There is no reference to many of her outward appearances, the author probably thinks it is not important and he leaves the picture of Mrs. Mooney to the reader's imagination. However, he is very accurate in the description of her life and personality. He treats her as a courageous, strong, self-confident and imposing woman who dismissed her aggressive and worthless husband (she got a separation from him with care of the children). All the resident young men spoke of her as The Madam.

In the present emancipated world, where women are practically independent, equal to men, having their own businesses, it would be nothing unusual for a woman like that. However, the character of Mrs. Mooney was likely quite anomalous at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the story was published. It was men who greatly dominated, earned money, led businesses, while women took care of household and brought up children. Besides, divorces used to be followed just exceptionally. Despite of this, Mrs. Mooney is not faultless. She can be cunning and intriguing and she has much trouble with her two incorrigible offsprings, who are described in detail in the following paragraphs. Jack Mooney, the Madam's son, who was clerk to a commission agent in Fleet Street, had the reputation of being a hard case. He was fond of using soldiers' obscenities; usually he came home in the small hours. Mrs....
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