James Joyce - An encounter

Topics: Dubliners, Dublin, James Joyce Pages: 4 (1277 words) Published: April 10, 2014


The concept of routine in
James Joyce’s ,,An Encounter ”

An encounter is a short story and also a part of the collection named Dubliners written by James Joyce in 1914. Dubliners is a great literary work of the 20th Century, a real masterpiece. Because of its structure and unity of themes, it can be read as a novel. The stories are based on the author’s personal experiences in Ireland. They are stories of desperate lives lived on the margins. Dublin was, to Joyce, ‘the centre of paralysis’. An encounter describes the Irish society, the prejudices and restrictions of the century, the monotony of life, and the unability of people to change their lives. In a letter to an editor, Joyce wrote: ,, I have tried to present it to the indifferent public under four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity, and public life. The stories are arranged in this order.’’

The main themes are: religion, the escape, freedom, journey, routine, isolation, paralysis and monotony. As a cultural background, people were looking for freedom, for new adventures tired of the routine of life. This aspect can be easily observed by the readers, in the story. The everyday life of Dubliners didn’t bring joy and excitement in their lives. One of the narrator’s confessions is: ,, But when the restraining influence of the school was at a distance I began to hunger again for wild sensations, for the escape which those chronicles of disorder alone seemed to offer me’’. So, the real adventures begin where the routine ends. Routine brings not only loneliness, but also despair, sadness and frustration. Joyce points out that routine is very dangerous, inevitable and it is seen as a trap from where you barely can get out. Joyce’s characters are looking for escape from the monotony of life, an escape that they are ashame of, but they fail and they always fall back in routine because of their inability to take actions: ,, But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to...

Bibliography: 1. Katherine Mullin, Cambridge Collections Online, James Joyce and the languages of modernism, Cambridge University Press, 2007
2. James Joyce, An encounter, David Campbell Publishers, 1991
3. Garry Leonard, Cambridge Collections Online, The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce,, Cambridge University Press, 2006
4. Derek Attridge, Cambridge Collections Online, Reading Joyce, Cambridge University Press, 2006
5. James R. Cope & Wendy Patrick Cope, A teacher’s guide to the Signet Classic Edition of James Joyce’s Dubliners, N.Y. : Penguin, 1994
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