Dark Dublin Essay

1446 words - 6 pages

Dark Dublin

James Joyce’s, Dubliners is made up of short stories that depict the lives of people in Dublin during the early 1900’s. At this point in history, Ireland was going through a time of distress. The author writes about this time through his stories and characters in the stories “Counterparts,” “Ivy Day in the Committee Room,” and “The Dead.” In these three accounts, Joyce uses the individuals to demonstrate the society of Ireland at this time. He does this using the specific theme of lightness and dark. Joyce connects the humanity based theme of individual and society to the literary theme of light and dark through stories that reflect the country during their time of distress.

Many stories in Dubliners contain visions of light, as well as concepts of dark. In the story “Counterparts,” darkness is a more dominant theme than light. Darkness is often represented in this story because most of it takes place at night. “Darkness, accompanied by a thick fog was gaining upon the dusk of February and the lamps in Eustance Street had been lit” (84). This story has many visions of darkness because the main character here, Farrington, enjoys being out late, in the dark: “He was now safe in the dark snug of O’Neill’s shop, and, filling up the little window that looked into the bar with his inflamed face, the colour of dark wine or dark meat” (84). What Farrington enjoys most is going to the bars late at night, after work. “The dark, damp night was coming and he longed to spend it in the bars, drinking with his friends” (85). Additionally, Farington is described as having a “hanging face, dark, wine-coloured, with fair eyebrows and mustache” (82). Fewer themes of light are represented in this particular story. When Farrington gets home one night, he tells his son to “light the lamp” (93), and asks him: “What do you mean by having the place in darkness?” (93) He also yells at his son when he realized that the boy “let the fire out” (94). “Counterparts” displays many examples of the literary theme of light and dark.

The character Farrington in “Counterparts,” is an example of an individual in Dublin who represents the society of Ireland. Farrington displays behaviors of a non-functional alcoholic. We know this because of the evidence that he can not get through the day without his alcohol fix: “He felt that he must slake the thirst in his throat” (84). Farrington represents Ireland in this story because they both are going through rough times; both Farrington and Ireland are going through a depression. Both the individual and the society are represented here. The Irish society feels inferior because they were ruled by England, just as Farrington feels inferior to his boss, Mr. Alleyne. “Mr Alleyne began a tirade of abuse, saying that two letters were missing” (87). Also, at the bar, Farrington...

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