World Lit Commentary
Word Count: 1051
James Joyce is famous for his layering and poetic essence in his short story collection Dubliners. He pounds his stories with themes and technique, describing Dublin in a way only Joyce could conjure up. “The Boarding House” is one of his most famous short stories out of the collection Dubliners. In “The Boarding House,” marriage offers promise and profit on one hand, and entrapment and loss on the other. What begins as a simple affair becomes a tactical game of obligation and reparation. Mrs. Mooney’s and Mr. Doran’s propositions and hesitations suggest that marriage is more about social standards, public perception, and formal sanctions than about mere feelings. Towards the end of the story we start to see the pure pressure that Mr. Doran is facing, and the consequences for his mistake. All and all Mr. Doran is going to have to pay for sleeping with Polly, whether its getting his face beat in by her brother, or tying the knot and marrying Polly.
After a talk on the side of the bed with Polly, Mr. Doran is summoned to talk with Mrs. Mooney. “Going down the stairs his glasses became so dimmed with moisture that he had to take them off and polish them.” In the first line of the passage the glasses becoming dimmed represents the obscurity and fogginess that Mr. Doran feels about what to do next. He is unsure about what his life will be like now that he has made this mistake. “He longed to ascend through the roof and fly away to another country where he would never hear again of his trouble, and yet a force pushed him downstairs step by step.” Joyce uses the image of flying to represent Mr. Doran’s wanting to run away from his problems. This is a major theme of the story and shows Mr. Doran’s inner struggle. The force that is driving Mr. Doran can be seen as society, God, or Mrs. Mooney. All three have invested interest into Mr. Doran’s Situation. “Step by Step” gives the... [continues]
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"World Lit Paper on James Joyce's the Dubliners." StudyMode.com. 05, 2011. Accessed 05, 2011. http://www.studymode.com/essays/World-Lit-Paper-On-James-Joyce-s-693496.html.