The Dubliners Essay, Research Paper
Religion, it is one of the main themes in The Dubliners, it can consistently be found in Joyce s book of short story. It can all be traced back to Joyce s experiences with religion as a youngster. He developed a dislike of religion, finding hypocrisy in it. Religion becomes the key of the stories and you begin to search for the religious factors of each story. The key is to find the character that is effected by religion.
In Araby we are presented with a young boy who has a very active fantasy life and is obsessed with the girl next door. He spends a considerable amount of time fantasizing about her. She dominates his thoughts. He is a dynamic character because as the story progresses he becomes more and more obsessed with her. He begins to idealize her and she becomes his angel. He can not get her out of his mind Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises, which I myself did not understand
We see the story through the boy s eyes revealing his fantasies. She becomes this angel, this heavenly creature that takes over his mind. The boy uses this angel to escape his every day life. We are thrown around between the real world and the fantasy world.
It is at the end when the boy realizes reality and that he cannot be with an angel. That his fantasy world of heaven can not be reached and that he is stuck in reality were he is living in a dead priests house and were his life is filled with darkness and gloom. He is forced to reckon with the fact that his idea of being with an angel was a fantasy and that he could never be with her.
In The Sisters we find a boy who is dealing with death for the first time. The religious effect on the boy can be summed up by certain words he mentions in the first paragraph.
Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis. It had always sounded strangely in my ears like the word gnomon in Euclid and the word simony in the Catechism.
There is simony. The buying or selling of church offices or services. People gave money and gifts to the church or to the priest. This was a way to buying yourself both power and a quick way to heaven. If I do this for you God, I know you will do this for me, says the simoniac. This shows one affect of religion on the boy.
Then there is gnomon, which according to one definition is a geometric figure. It is also a sundial, or anything by which something else is measured. The gnomon in The Sisters refers to Father Flynn, who is presented as the measurement of the church and the rules that the church sets. In the view of Joyce there are too many rules. This is one reason why Joyce left Ireland. The church controlled the way of life by rules. The view of the church was one of power first, people second.
If you don t follow the rules what ends up happening is paralysis. The rules of the church had paralyzed the priest. This is how he felt simony and gnomon was related to paralysis.
In The Boarding House we have Mr. Doran he has been put into a trap set up by his lover Polly and her mother Mrs. Mooney. They have conspired to force him to marry Polly. Mr. Doran is stuck having to have the decision should he marry her or not. It is that he has slept is why he know he has to marry her. It is the religious aspect of the act of having slept with her that makes the decision so hard for him.
What could he do now but marry her or run away?
He is stuck, paralyzed, trapped in a life that he isn t sure he wants. He becomes aware of this trapped feeling and he creates a moral and spiritual paralysis that prevents him from escaping.
Religion is obviously an aspect that Joyce did not think highly of. He felt it was to full of rules. Don t ask questions and mind your business. James left Ireland for this reason. Joyce asked this question, you can t live without asking questions?