In “Araby”, “Eveline”, and “The Dead”, three short stories featured in James Joyce’s The Dubliners, the characters struggle with whether to live their lives with a structured routine or to seek opportunities, change, and adventure. These short stories center around everyday life for citizens of Dublin, Ireland in the early 20th century, when a choice between continuing the inherited tradition of routine and structure versus seeking any other form of life or adventure could be the most important decision in the peoples’ lives. With the terrible potato famine still in living memory and with Ireland seeking a new culture and identity, many of its citizens clung to their routine as means of survival. The quotidian routine of the character’s lives suppresses and dominates the characters, preventing any of the characters’ ideas and dreams of seeking adventure. In “Araby,” every aspect of the little boy’s routine and everyday life impedes him from his adventurous goals of visiting the annual bazaar and fulfilling his dream of a relationship with Mangan’s sister.
Despite his infatuation with his friend Mangan’s sister, the boy cannot work up the courage to spark a conversation and is pleasantly surprised when she asks him if he is going to the annual bazaar, hosted in Dublin. She then says that she is unable to attend, and the boy offers to bring her an item from the bazaar. Every aspect of the boy’s routine and everyday life seems to be trying to impede the boy from his goals, from school’s boring lessons to his uncle forgetting to arrive home early enough to give him money for the train fair because he was out drinking. Despite the adversities of his everyday life attempting to ensnare him, the boy does make it to the bazaar, but his hopes about the bazaar are not fulfilled. When the boy arrives at the bazaar, he realizes that the bazaar does not live up to his expectations. The untimely distractions that caused the boy to be late to the bazaar cause the boy to show up after most of the excitement and trade has already ended. He approaches one stall that is still open, but the owner of the stall seems to be preoccupied with a conversation with several men.
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. ” This quote by Paul Sweeney describes exactly how I felt after reading and watching Tobias Wolff’s memoir This Boy’s Life. After I closed the book and once the credits started to roll, I felt as if something in my life went missing. I speak for everyone when I say that it’s impossible to ...
The woman notices him, but the boy says how “…the tone of her voice was not encouraging; she seemed to have spoken to [him] out of a sense of duty”. The boy buys nothing, feeling unwanted by the woman watching over the goods. With no purchase for Mangan’s sister, the narrator stands angrily in the deserted bazaar as the lights go out, with his hopes crushed as his grandiose imagination of the bazaar is disillusioned. This realization deflates the boy’s hopes and dreams of an adventurous and exotic life, ending his wishful love affair with his friend’s sister, as well as ending his ambitions for a more adventurous life, and is analogous to Joyce’s “The Dead”. In “The Dead”, the banal and reflectively melancholy party is indicative of the monotonous routine that the Dubliners live by; however, Gabriel, the protagonist, struggles with the psychological battle with his methodical approach to life versus a more accepting and unconventional mindset, in which he wishes to enjoy a happier outlook on life.
The motif of adventure versus routine is ever-present in this short story through Joyce’s meticulous and selective diction. During a very normal routine of dinner, the food is on “rival ends” of the table, divided by “sentries of fruit”, and watched afar by “three squads of bottles”. This militaristic diction transforms a seemingly harmless dinner table into an adventurous battlefield filled with action and excitement. The “battlefield” is not the dinner table, but the story in itself. The war is not between sentries and squadrons of bottles, but between the routine of life versus the hunger for opportunity. After dinner, the guests begin to dance.
What is entertainment? There are many definitions of entertainment but I look at it as something which diverts or may distract us from our daily life routine. It helps us relax for periods of time thus forget our worries and cares; our habits and thoughts are interrupted, it rests our minds and nerves, though it can also drain our energies thus exhaust our bodies (Herbert, 2012). There are ...
The guests partake in “memorized dance steps” and fall into habit and routine, one after the other. These structured dance steps rob the dancers of their individuality and creativity as uniform seizes the dance floor. The dancers are either forced to abandon their creativity and join in on the synchronized march of the automatons or be excluded from the group. Later on in the story, Gabriel learns from his wife about a previous lover. Gabriel enters a pensive and reflective state, in which he muses on the mass snow covering all of Ireland, which most likely covers the grave of Michael, his wife’s ex-lover, as well as the graves of all future Dubliners. The snow, the culmination of millions of individual and unique snowflakes melting together to form one entity of uniformity, became a metaphor for the all-encompassing routine of the characters in Dubliners, covering them in life and in death. Gabriel’s reflections towards the end of the novel give the short story its name of “The Dead”, which is what all of the routine and structure does the characters in The Dubliners.
Despite all of the negative occurrences that the routine of the evening and of life bring upon Gabriel, he summons the courage to change his bleak outlook on life, vowing to have a more optimistic and open view on the world. In “Eveline”, the protagonist Eveline is faced with a rare opportunity to move away from Ireland to Buenos Aires with her boyfriend, Frank, but the routines and memories of her life ensnare her and prevent her from making the choice to seek adventure and excitement. This decision is an important crossroads in Eveline’s life, to continue with a life of an abusive father or an uncertain future with her boyfriend. The story begins with Eveline reflecting upon her childhood and contemplating the difficult decision that lies before her. She first has an epiphany, realizing that she cannot stay where she is, stuck in the autonomous life of routine and then becomes sympathetic to her father, saying how he was not all that abusive to her. Soon after this thought, Eveline hears an organ playing in the street, reminding Eveline of her mother.
The decision to quit smoking is one decision a person will never regret! Smoking causes around 419,000 deaths each year, just in the United States. Quitting smoking cuts the risk of lung cancer, many other cancers, heart disease, stroke, other lung diseases, and other respiratory illnesses. Quitting smoking, while pregnant, also increases the chances of survival for the unborn child. Quitting ...
This recollection of her mother immediately compels Eveline to decide that she cannot live her life the way her mother did, being swallowed up and forgotten by the routines of cooking and cleaning, all but forgotten in a sad and monotonous life. Eveline decides to head to Buenos Aires with Frank. As they are about to board the ship, Eveline resorts back to her routine by praying. The familiar chanting of the prayers versus the desire to flee with Frank renders Eveline in a state of paralysis, stripped of confidence after the destructive battle raging in her head between the two waging sides of her life, fiercely battling each other for superiority of Eveline’s subconcious. Eveline is left on the docks while Frank boards the ship. Because she does not move away from her routines, she is stuck forever with them. Her momentary epiphany regarding her mother and the monotonous routines of her life will go in vain, and she will end up living the exact life that her mother did.
The vicious cycle of repetitive and mundane routine leaves the Dubliners helpless and lonely. Often, the routine forces the character into a state of unrequited love. In “Araby”, the routine leaves the boy in love with Mangan’s sister, never to know whether she shared any of his feelings. In “Eveline”, Eveline is left in the abusive and vicious cycle of her life, while her love is sailing off to Buenos Aires. In “The Dead”, Michael is literally buried under the mass routine of the snow, while his lover lives on, loving someone else.
These protagonists each face difficult situations, of which they are not sure how to solve. As a mechanism of coping, they seek repetition, comfort, and conformity that only the routines of their average lives can bring. Without ever taking chances, they are sure to never achieve more than an average life. The characters in The Dubliners never take a chance to succeed and triumph over mediocrity. In doing this, they never give themselves a chance to fail, but they also never give themselves a chance to succeed. These characters have an opportunity to try to lift themselves up from the routinely abusive cycle of their lives, but cannot free themselves from their shackles, simply adding a few more degrees to the circle of false hopes and adventure that defines these misfortunate and disillusioned characters.
ASHES OF IZALCOBy Claribal Alegria and Darwin J. Flak oll I found the beginning of this book quite confusing. I had a difficult time discerning who the main characters were and what was the plot. I also wasn't quite sure when the Mother had died and it wasn't until later that I realized the reason that Carmen was present was because she had traveled home for her mother's funeral. However, once I ...
Joyce, James. “Dubliners.” Project Gutenberg. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. .