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Irony & Sensory Disconnect In James Joyces' Dubliners.

1101 words - 4 pages

In James Joyce’s Dubliners the use of irony and sensory disconnect are what structure the recurring themes of the stories. The themes include entrapment, with escaping routine life for its horrors, misery, and agony. The stories “Eveline”, “Araby”, “A Painful Case”, and “The Dead” all end in epiphany. Dubliners experience a climactic moment in their lives to bring them change, freedom and happiness, although these moments bring none of those. All characters fall into paralysis from not being able to leave lives of promises, marriage, children, love, and religion that ironically entrapped them. It’s almost as if the Dubliners are prisoners in life, except the prison is Dublin and the inmates are entrapped souls that live a lifeless wonder to the reader.In “The Dead” irony and sensory disconnect are used together to help Gabriel experience his epiphany. There is much sensory disconnect with the snow as James Joyce makes connections with the dead and the living, there’s moments in the story where the nature is seen with snow and every detailed covered with snow, when at the same time the snow covers the living at the party. The cold ice that covers the dead at the cemetery, also covers the living as they ironically will die off one day soon and lie under snow as they do now. The snow resembles cold death as Gabriel sits and looks at it at the party. As Gabriel sits and looks: “People, perhaps, were standing in the snow on the quay outside, gazing up at the lighted windows and listening to the waltz music. The air was pure there. In the distance lay the park where the trees were weighted with snow. The Wellington Monument wore a gleaming cap of snow that flashed westward over the white field of Fifteen Acres.” (202) In this excerpt James Joyce shows how snow is everywhere making a connection with the cold and ice and the living and warm environment of their party. As Gabriel prepares his toast, as he sits at the party he refers to the snow, the snow and events lead to Gabriel realizing his epiphany between life and his very own life, between life and death. He first insists that there is a difference between the living and the dead, although as he sits at supper looking at the snow fall on the Dubliners he realizes there is none, however this realization is more clearly made by him at the end of the story. “The Dead” is a perfect piece that James Joyce decided to use as the last story, as it sums up what he believed Dubliners’ lives truly were.Throughout all the stories however, irony is apparent in the entrapment that all Dubliners face. In “Eveline”, Eveline must leave and awaken to a new life with Frank to escape the one her mother lived, which she describes as, “that life of commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness.” (40) Ironically though it’s her promise to her mother that keep her from beginning a new life and entrapped...

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