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Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories in each of which the failure of an inhabitant of Dublin is examined in biographical and psychological detail.
His intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of his country and chose Dublin for the scene because the city seemed to him the centre of Paralysis.
The paralysis is the paralysis of will, courage and self-knowledge; the sense of paralysis runs through all the fifteen stories and it is present in childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life.
It is intended as the impossibility to hope in life and, in The Dead, is represented by the story of Patrick Morkan’s horse: it, which is unable to change its habit of going round and round a treadmill, repeats its circular journey around the statue of king William III; it becomes the metaphor of the paralysis of Dublin life revolving around its British rulers.
Another important theme in Dubliners is escape, the opposite of paralysis originates from an impulse activated by the sense of enclosure that many character express.

The style of Dubliners is complex. Apparently it is realistic to the recreation of characters, places, streets, pubs and idioms of contemporary Dublin; on the other hand, Joyce makes use symbolic effect which gives the common object. Joyce coined the term epiphany (manifestation, showing), to indicate that moment when a simple object or fact flashes out with meaning and makes a person realizes his condition.

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