Epiphanic insights | Sunday Observer

Epiphanic insights

9 July, 2017

James Joyce’s Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories which is set in Dublin, Ireland during the period of Literary Modernism in the early 20th century. This period was marked by scepticism, doubt and disillusionment which pervade the Dubliners.

The stories revolve around the lives of ordinary people, and Joyce explores the predominant theme of epiphanic insights, and the themes of death in life, the sense of paralysis and self realization.

The Painful Case is a story about an introverted man Mr. Duffy whose inability to feel makes him reject the affection of Mrs. Sinico. Mr. Duffy has an epiphanic insight only after he learns about Mrs. Sinico’s death four years later.

This epiphanic revelation is brought to the fore through the lines, “He looked down the slope and, at the base, in the shadow of the wall of the Park, he saw some human figures lying. Those venal and furtive loves filled him with despair.

He gnawed the rectitude of his life; he felt that he had been outcast from life’s feast.”

The story titled Araby is about a young man who delays to meet a girl at the bazaar. The Little Cloud is a story about a man who dreams of being a poet, but is crippled by shyness.

Joyce highlights his characters’ desire to escape being trapped in a miserable life, but are paralysed by their fear of the unknown.

The Dubliners presents a microcosm of Irish society, and it paints a bleak picture of life in Ireland at the beginning of the 20th century.