October 8, 2014
The Boarding House
Setting essay 1 ½
The Boarding House setting
“The Boarding House”, written by James Joyce, is a short story that portrays the struggles of Catholics staying true to their religion. James Joyce is a well renowned author from Ireland, who set the story line for “the Boarding House” to take place in Dublin, Ireland. The story focuses on Ms. Mooney for a strong portion of the story, then later transitioning to her daughter as the story plays out. In his deliberately ambiguous story “The Boarding House”, James Joyce uses religion as the basis for Dublin in the early twentieth century.
The story begins with a description of why Ms. Mooney leaves her husband. She was the butcher’s daughter, and once her father had past away, Mr. Mooney began to interfere with her work in the shop. He would constantly get in the way of her, and one night he came home raging drunk with bad meat. The moment he attacked her with a cleaver was the moment when Ms. Mooney knew it was time to leave him and move on.
The story skips some time from where the violence occurred with her husband, and now Ms. Mooney has opened up a boarding house for travelers, artists, and middle managers. Everyone referred to her as “the madam”, and took her very seriously. Ms. Mooney has a daughter named Polly who is very strange in the way that she approaches men. She walks around the boarding house attempting to attracted male attention by singing “ I’m a naughty girl”. Polly would not be described as a woman who takes her religion too seriously; moreover, this results in her disregarding some of her Catholic morals. Ms. Mooney eventually finds out that Polly has gotten intimate with a man named Mr. Doran, but decides to not speak of it with anyone until further notice.
When Ms. Mooney comes out to Polly with what she knows, she lashes out at her exclaiming that he will no longer have the chance to enter the kingdom of heaven...
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