The relationship between Joyce and Ireland is complex. It is a sort of love-hate relationship: on one hand, he seems to reject everything about Irish (its nationalism, church, the environment that he feels limiting and frustrating) but on the other hand he sets all his novel in Dublin, which he considered a symbolic microcosm of the whole world.
Joyce’s life and his works are closely related: his voluntary exile not only made him a cosmopolitan writer but also gave him the objectivity he needed to write about Ireland without being influenced by any political, social, religious and moral pressure.
The stories open in medias res with the analysis of a particular moment and the impressions and thoughts that this specific event has caused in the character. Moreover, the descriptions of characters are not based on the description of their physical appearance but on the description of their inner world. Also, time is not perceived as objective but as subjective.
The facts are presented from different points of view and not through the voice of the omniscient narrator. Joyce thought that the artist had to be “invisible” in his works, in the sense that he had to express not his personal viewpoint, but different points of view. This is why the author has to adopt different linguistic styles appropriated to different characters and/or situations.
In order to reproduce the flux of thoughts, Joyce followed the association of ideas using the “interior monologue”, which is a technique that does not follow the graphic conventions of writing, such as punctuation and capitalization of words. He also created a new kind of language, a mixture of existing words, creative word combinations (called puns) and non-existent word, that could be read on endless levels of significance.
Joyce’s other great innovation was the use of myth (vedi poi l’Ulysses)
For Joyce, literature was a mean of promoting awareness and the job of the artist was not to convince, but to make people see.
Joyce’s literary productions is divided into two periods, the turning point coinciding with the Ulysses. The first period of his work is marked by a realistic technique, the plot is quite linear in its development, the syntax is logical and the language reflects everyday speech.
One of the most significant works of this period is the “Dubliners”.