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Joyce - Dubliners

“Dubliners” is a collection of 15 short stories all set in Dublin. It was first rejected by publishers because of its pitiless portrait of city life; moreover, real people and places were mentioned in the stories. It then came out in 1914.
The story are divided into four groups:
1. childhood
2. adolescence
3. maturity
4. public life
Joyce’s style in “Dubliners” is a mixture of realism and symbolism. As a matter of fact, on the one hand he describes in a very detailed way characters, streets and places of contemporary Dublin; on the other hand, he employs symbols: an ordinary object or fact are given a deeper meaning. For example, in “Eveline” dust and yellow represent decay and death.
The main themes are:
Paralysis: it is a state of immobility and inability to act. Joyce wants to show the Dubliners are stuck to traditions, conventions and routine which make them prisoners.

Epiphany: as opposed to paralysis, epiphany is an awakening of consciousness. It happens thanks to a melody, a smell, or a ordinary object which can evoke a past experience.
The desire for escape: Joyce’s Dubliners want to escape from unhappy situations; on the other hand, their inability to act prevent them from actually doing it.
The power of the Catholic Church in Ireland: the stories are full of religious references which hint at religion’s influence on the life of Irish people. Joyce wants to underline the fact that the Catholic Church has taken possession of Irish minds.

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