Author James Joyce has written many short stories which were composed to explain Dublin’s way of life. The book is known to his readers as Dubliners. His short stories have been written to help readers understand the many different feelings that were established in Dublin during a time of crisis. During this time in Dublin many changes were occurring and the city was rebuilding from the tragic potato famine and certainly rebuilding as a country. In three certain stories, “The Sisters”, “An Encounter”, and “The Dead,” the literary symbols of escape and journey appear within individuals which are always trying to run from the problems of society. These actions taken help understand why the characters have feelings of escape and run from the society of Dublin in this era. Certainly, in all three stories the major theme expressed can be determined when individuals try to escape society and the reality of Dublin.
In James Joyce’s Dubliners, his writing establish many feelings of escape from reality and life throughout the story of “The Sisters.” The characters tend to escape through journeys. To begin, in the “The Sisters,” after the death of Father Flynn, the boy realizes as he takes a long walk that he has fantasized of being away from everyone and everything: “As I walked along […] I felt that I had been very far away, in some land where the customs were strange – in Persia, I thought. … But I could not remember the end of the dream” (Joyce 5-6). The boy dreams of being away from reality in an entirety where he journeys alone to escape everyday life in Dublin. A second journey which introduces the theme of escape is when Eliza remembers the time that her brother, Father Flynn, spoke of driving away from Dublin to see the old house where they were born (9). One final journey to escape from life is the death of Father Flynn. After Father Flynn had died the young boy said, “I knew that the old priest was lying still in his coffin as we had seen him, solemn and truculent in death” (10). The boy knows that he has gone away to escape the life and now is journeying far from Dublin and its worries. Clearly, “The Sisters” shows ways that escaping the reality of Dublin through journeys have occurred for these characters.
In the story of “An Encounter,” one also can view the literary themes of escape through certain journeys taken. The boys in the story are always trying to escape reality in everyday life: “The adventures related in the literature of the Wild West were remote from my nature but, at least, they opened doors of escape” (11). No matter what the circumstances are, it’s a natural habit for the boys just to think about getting away and forgetting about responsibilities. For example, the boy in the story explains, “Every evening after school we met in his back garden and arranged Indian battles“(11). Continuing their escape the boys plan to cut school and journey away from Dublin to...