-He was born in 1882, he was a modernist writer. Modernism was characterized by experimentation and modernists wanted to give voice to the new sentiments (they wanted to find new ways to convey these new sentiments)
-He had a complex relationship with Ireland: on the surface he seemed to have rejected everything that was Irish, at a deeper level, all his works are centered on Ireland
-He went into self-imposed exile to write about Ireland with the necessary emotional detachment, and because he needed an unrestricted artistic climate (he also went to Italy)
-Joyce's novel shows a shift from the particular to the universal, he passed from small to large, from the connected short stories of Dubliners to the great picture of Dublin life in Ulysses
-It is a collection of fifteen short stories, in each of which there is the failure of the self-realization of an inhabitant of Dublin.
-The fifteen stories are arranged in four groups that correspond to four "phases" of life: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life
-The novel is based on fifteen stories in which the characters live in a paralysis but a certain moment they experience a sudden revelation of truth, and after this revelation they want to change their lifes, so:
*the central idea (the main theme) is the feeling of paralysis, which is the inability to make any progress (the Irish are conservative, they reject modern ideas, Ireland is the centre of this paralysis) and so he talks about men and women, who accept the limitation imposed by their social environment (people who are unable to communicate, to develop and to grow up)
*another idea of the novel is the epiphany, which is the "revelation" (the manifestation) to the characters of their condition of paralysis, in most of the stories the characters have a moment (not rational) which gives them a moment of truth (a moment of epiphany), usually this moment is caused by something that stimulates the senses, like music (for example, music stirs past memories, it is an association of ideas)
-All the stories are quite short
-In this novel Joyce is traditional and innovative at the same time, in his choice of the narrators, there are two different types of narration, and so the narrator's point of view continuously shifts from the narrator to the characters, he uses:
*the third person narrator, who is omniscient for the most of the time
*the indirect interior monologue, we can see what the characters think and their sensory perceptions, in the indirect interior monologue the characters convey what they think; it was introduced by the modernists, who considered the narrator a filter (it is too objective), who is unable to convey the overlapping thoughts of the characters, and so they looked for new ways to remove the narrator (we read the thoughts of the characters in an indirect way, without the narrator)
"Dubliners" is a collection of fifteen short stories, each representing the failure of self-realization of an inhabitant of Dublin. It was written by James Joyce, an author who was born in Ireland in 1914, and who has always had a complex relationship with his native country. The first fourteen stories were written in 1905, when the book was published for the first time, while the last story, "The Dead", was added in 1907.
Joyce wanted to write a chapter of the moral history of his country and he chose Dublin because that city seemed to him the centre of paralysis. For "paralysis", Joyce intends the paralysis of will, courage that leads men to accept the limitations imposed by the social context they have to live in. In his opinion, all the Dubliners are spiritually weak, they are slaves of their culture. They are morally paralyzed victims who try to escape their conditions. But their escape is destined to fail.
The style is, apparently, realistic: Dublin is perfectly recreated in all its aspects. But on the other hand, Joyce makes use of a symbolic effect which gives the common object unforeseen depth and becomes the key to a new, more conscious, view of reality.
One of the most important stories is "After the Race", which shows the inferiority of the Dubliners with respect to other nationalities. In this story there are three drivers, of different nationalities, and the ingenuous Dublin inhabitant lose all his money at poker.
Another important story is the last and longest one, "The Dead", which is the climax of all the other stories. In this story the narrator is detached and objective, and so an apparent lack of emotions is replaced by a more compassionate view of the Dubliners. The central character is Gabriel, a dramatic figure because he knows that he has failed. Gabriel is what Joyce felt he would have become if he had stayed in Ireland. At the end Gabriel lets go of his frustrations and he is elevated to a superior world, symbolically represented by snow. It is the only story where there is the main character’s self-awareness, which gives a hope for change that instead lacks in the author’s earlier stories. Gabriel realizes that he might die soon but living with passion is better than being killed by time and old age.
-This story talks about a nineteen-year-old girls, Eveline. While she is looking outside her window she does some considerations about her life. She remembers her childhood and she talks about her project to escape from her father, who is bad with her. She wants to escape with a sailor, Frank, who lives in Buenos Aires. But when it's time to leave, at the station she is undecided between the family nest and the uncertainty of the future with Frank. She decides not to leave
-Before Eveline's departure, she writes two letters, one for her brother Harry and one for her father
-The moment of epiphany is at the end, when she hears a sound and she remembers the promise made to her mother, so a trivial moment which appears fundamental
-This story talks about a girl, who has a difficult life, her father is violent and her mother died when Eveline was young
-The story talks about Eveline’s opportunity to go live in Argentina
*a long flash-back of her childhood (past)
-The story is narrated by a third person narrator, but then shifts to the indirect interior monologue technique (Eveline's conscience, the author uses the stream of consciousness)
-Joyce's paralysis, or rather the inability to act of the inhabitants of Dublin, who do not accept their condition because they are not aware or do not have the courage to break the relationships between them and Ireland, can be interpreted in different ways:
*in a political way, because the paralysis is caused by the Irish government
*in a moral way, because the paralysis is physical but also moral
*in a literary way, because the paralysis is also linked to the Irish culture
-So the inhabitants of Dublin are inept and slaves of their moral, cultural, religious and political life
-The last and longest story, which was added later, is "The Dead", an allegoric title (it refers to the
message of the story), it is the climax to all the other stories
-This story is about a middle aged couple (Gabriel and Greta). The main character is Gabriel, who, at
the end, knows that he has failed (Gabriel is what Joyce felt he would have become if he had stayed in
Ireland). It is set at Christmas night, when the couple is at a friend’s party. Everything is very normal,
they talk with their friends and they have a good time. Then they go back to their hotel, but on their
way back they hear some music and Greta starts to cry..
-Greta and Gabriel were not a formal couple, they had nice moments and they were in love with each
Greta's previous relationship and that she is still desperate for Michael's death, he realises that (he
points out that, it is a revelation for him) his wife does not love him but she loves Michael. He understands the situation and realises that the reality is very different from what he thought. Then
he looks outside the window and he sees the snow, and he contemplates the snow, which covers
everything, Gabriel feels that is his situation (in which he cannot understand anything)
-There are two points of view:
*we know what the characters think and feel, thanks to a third person omniscient narrator
*there are a lot of direct interior monologues, in which we can see the flow of the character's thoughts
-There are many dialogues
-It is graphically in prose but it is built like a poem (alliteration, association, evocative language..), and
in these parts the story is not realistic
-There is a lot of realism, for example in the description of the landscapes, of what they do or wear...
(in all the fifteen stories)
-It is an example of what Joyce means by epiphany, which is visible when a song brings up memories,
which provoke a new awareness of Greta's relationship with Gabriel
"I think he died for me, she answered"
-The Christmas party is finished, Gabriel and his wife have come back to their hotel and they speak
-Suddenly Gretta starts to cry, and questioned by Gabriel she reveals that, she is crying for a boy,
Michael Furey, who died for love of her (he was her old boyfriend, who went under the snow for her)
and who sang the song, which they heard that night (she remembers Michael for the music, which
recalls his memory, it is an epiphany)
-So at line 55 there is a turning point, Greta explains her epiphany and everything changes (the
revelation is not immediate but gradual, with a series of emotional shocks for Gabriel)
"The living and dead"
-It is the final part of The Dead
-Gabriel has just listened to Greta telling him her love story with a boy, who she met when she was
young, and who died for her
-Gabriel is surprised and he realises that he has never really known his wife
-In the end he abandons his frustrations elevated to the region of dead, symbolically mapped out by
the snow that is falling all over Ireland, uniting the living and the dead
-It was published in 1922 in Paris, where Joyce was in volunteer exile. The novel was considered obscene, and was not accepted by the critics
-It is an example of the reworking of myth in modernist literature, Joyce uses an epic model to underline the lack of heroism in the modern world (the epic structure becomes a mirror reflecting the modern world)
- Modernists cannot believe in anything, while the intellectuals of the past have hopes and traditions in which to believe, so in this story there is a comparison between modern and past time
-Nothing is really explained or described, we can only interpret it.
-The messages, which are conveyed by the form, are:
*the condition of frustration of modern men, this message is conveyed through the form, which is confused (it represents the confusion of reality) and by an interior monologue (we read the subjectivity of the point of view, so we understand that reality is not objective but it is relativistic, it is different for each person)
*the comparison between the modern hero and the past hero (it is given by the parallelism with the Odyssey)
-It is the story of a modern "hero", Leopold Bloom, who is associated with Ulysses [Yùlisses]. In the story we can see a normal day in the life of this middle aged Jewish man. In this day (16 June 1904, the day in which Joyce had his first appointment with his future wife) nothing happens, it is formed only by an association of disconnected episodes, which are described very accurately. The message of the story is conveyed thanks to the form
-Most of the message is conveyed thanks to the form, the real message is the comparison between the hero of the past and the modern hero (this comparison is not explicit, it is implicit in the form, it is conveyed through the form, as a new way to communicate an idea), Leopold and Ulysses are both paralysed and alone, but Ulysses in 10 years of trip never loses his hope while Leopold is an inept:
*the modern hero (Leopold) experiences banal situations, he is inept, he is not loved by his wife..
*the hero of the past lives through great situations, he is glorious, he is loved by all the people..
-The connection between the Odyssey and the "Ulysses" is just formal (it is not explicit), Joyce takes from the Odyssey the episodes (the episodes correspond to the Odyssey's episodes), and the characters
-The correspondence of the characters is:
*Leopold is Ulysses, he had a normal day with banal facts (which are disconnected) and at the end he takes Dedalus home with him (Leopold had lost a child and so he was in search of a son)
*Molly is Penelope, she is a woman who is unfaithful to her husband
*Stephen Dedalus is Telemachus, he is a young man with literary ambitions, he is in search of a house and of a father, which he finds in Bloom (Dedalus is homeless and fatherless like Telemachus)
-To convey the life of an individual in a single day, and in the absence of a dramatic plot Joyce chose to give all the details of that day and the character's thinking process
-We can see the subjectivity of the point of view (we can see the characters’ thoughts), which indicates that the perception of the reality is different for each person.
-Joyce introduces a technical innovation:
*the adoption of the "direct interior monologue" technique, which shows the chaotic flow of thoughts in the human mind, the interior monologue becomes direct, the narrator is removed also from a structural point of view (the introductory verb is removed, the punctuation is removed..), and this technique shows the irrational part of their modes of thinking, how thoughts come to their minds (it is an experimental technique to better convey the thoughts of the characters)
*there is no punctuation and no syntax, or if there is, it is not respected (to better convey the thoughts, which are not rational but which are free association)
*association of ideas (no plot)
*he does not follow a chronological order (the time of the story is the time of the character's unconscious)
-The story talks about a normal day, 24 hours, one for each book, the same number of the Odyssey (parallelism):
*the first book is called "Telemachia", in this book there is Dedalus who is looking for his father, which he finds in Bloom. Then they go to Leopold's house to Molly.
"Mr Bloom's cat and wife"
-This passage describes how a day in the life of an ordinary man begins
-Mr. Bloom is having his breakfast, while Molly is lying in bed
-The objects, which Mr. Bloom uses to prepare breakfast for his wife and himself, are described in detail, and give an ironic-realistic portrait of Irish life
-Joyce gives readers the thoughts of Bloom in a chaotic flow, as they come to his mind (when he realises that the cat is there, her movements are rendered through Bloom's mind)
"Yes i said yes i will yes"
-This passage contains the last line of the novel
-It is Molly Bloom's interior monologue, she is almost asleep (she is not completely conscious, she does free association of thoughts)
-In the passage the stream-of-consciousness technique is used, and also:
*no external events are described and there is no third-person narrator
*at no point Joyce interrupts this flux of thoughts and free association of thoughts
*it is used to render from the inside Molly's thoughts about the day when Bloom proposed to her.