Grace by James Joyce

Topics: Catholic Church, Pope, Roman Catholic Church Pages: 4 (1622 words) Published: April 19, 2012
“The grace of God is infinite and eternal. As it had no beginning, so it can have no end, and being an attribute of God, it is as boundless as infinitude” (“Precious Grace”). With this description, how can one go through his or her life without desiring grace? James Joyce first published “Grace” in his book, Dubliners, in June of 1914. Even as a fallen Catholic, Joyce still has many allusions to Catholicism in his stories, and in this story those allusions are to the basic knowledge stories of the Bible. Although these Biblical and religious references are numerous, Joyce truly makes a point to ridicule the Catholic faith. Mr. Kernan is the main character as he struggles with alcohol and being a good family man in general. In an attempt to sway him towards Catholicism, Mr. Power, Mr. Cunningham, Mr. M’Coy, and Mr. Fogarty plan to take Mr. Kernan to a retreat at the church. In “Grace,” Joyce extensively uses thoughtfully planned writing techniques as he works to bring the themes of Catholicism to light. James Joyce uses many symbols and literary techniques in his short story, “Grace,” ultimately satirizing the Catholic faith and its relationship with commerce. Joyce’s use of symbols brings to light very noticeable Catholic teachings, but uses them to poke fun at Catholicism. The most notable symbolic allusions to Bible stories are the allusions to Jesus’ crown of thorns, as there are two in the short story. The first occurs following Mr. Kernan’s fall when the crowd forms around him. The fall drew quite a bit of blood from his head, and Joyce describes the scene with the quote; “A dark medal of blood had formed itself near the man's head on the tessellated floor” (Joyce). When thinking about a medal one thinks about a circular shape, and when this blood is circular near a man’s head, it brings to mind the crown of thorns being placed on Jesus’ head in the crucifixion story. A circular pool of blood by a man’s head bears a certain resemblance to the idea of...

Cited: Joyce, James. "Grace." Dubliners. New York: Dover Publications, 1991. 155-82. Print.
"Precious Grace." Grace Quotes. Tentmaker, 2012. Web. 22 Feb. 2012. .
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