(a collection of short stories)
The stories are arranged in four groups, dealing with childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life.
The last one, The Dead, represents a kind of epilogue, where the author suggests the necessity for the artist to leave Ireland to escape paralysis.
The stories deal with meaningful moments of the life of ordinary characters.
They are common people who share the inability to have successful human relationships and to change their life.
Third person unobtrusive and impersonal.
Dublin: the description of the town and of internal settings is even over-realistic in its abundance of details, but these details are often symbolical.
•Paralysis: the characters are psychologically paralyzed, due to external forces, like religion, politics and culture, or internal ones, like family ties they have not the courage to break or sexual desires they have not the courage to admit.
•Epiphany: due to a trivial event, the characters suddenly realize something about themselves they had never realized before.
•Failure of finding a way out of paralysis: even after epiphany takes place, the characters do not manage to change their life.
Narrative technique and language
Stories are told from the point of view of the characters. Indirect interior monologue is employed: the author tries to reproduce the train of thoughts of the characters without the mediation of the narrator. Language is carefully adapted to the characters’ age and social class (see also: Verga).