Norms That Define The World Essay

1617 words - 7 pages

World comes from the Old English, weorold, which roughly refers to, Age of Man. It could also refer to the human experience or condition. In Catalina De Euraso’s – Lieutenant Nun, her autobiography takes place in none other than a masculine focused world. In the 17th century, women were not allowed to write or to have a public opinion and for her to even tell her story she had to self-fashion into a man. Moving into the 20th century we find James Joyce and his collection of short stories called Dubliners. In particular, the novella, The Dead, speaks to the human experience as a whole. Joyce’s story, and main character Gabriel, are set in a time when their World, Ireland, is in turmoil. ...view middle of the document...

Catalina writes, “I revealed myself to the bishop and told him, “Senõr, all of this that I have told you . . . in truth, it is not so. The truth is this: that I am a woman. . . .” Here we get a very upfront and personal view of her confession to the bishop. Catalina does not tell her story through other characters. Conversely, in James Joyce’s The Dead, we get a 3rd person perspective of the world. This autobiographical fiction is not a factual account of anyone’s life, but a self-disguising story in which Joyce, through the character Gabriel Conroy, reveals his view of the world. One of Gabriel’s many moments of introspection comes when, “The indelicate clacking of the men’s heels and the shuffling of their soled reminded him that their grade of culture differed from his”. These elaborate parties of tactless dancing, feasting, and dinner speeches are of the old Irish culture, which the people are desperate to hold onto. Even though Joyce will not come right out and say it, he conveys through Gabriel, through his text, that he thinks the Irish are inane and a bit naïve to think that dancing and dinner parties will in some way hold their deep-rooted culture intact . The nature of these two genres shapes how we see each author’s world. Catalina’s story is up close and personal, she holds nothing back. However, Joyce in essence hides behind his book characters, and is possibly able to convey more meaningful messages than he would be if he were to write about himself.
Not only does an author’s choice of genre affect the way their world is shaped and how we perceive it, but we also see that clothing, income, and intellect are some of the many categories that of class that also characterize the world. When labeled as rich or poor, smart or dumb, each of these categories will have an effect on the way one views the world. There have been numerous physiological studies that show once a person is labeled or defined a certain way; it does become who they are as a human being. James Joyce, a native Irishman, achieved extensive knowledge through his travels as a young man. In, The Dead, as Gabriel prepares to enter the drawing room, we are given a glimpse into his thoughts, “ …arranging his cuffs and the bows of his tie…He was undecided about the lines from Robert Browning, for he feared they would be over the heads of his hearers”. Gabriel Conroy sees himself as superior in intellect compared to the other dinner party guest since he does not know if they are intelligent enough to understand his references to Robert Browning. Knowing that Joyce conveys parts of his persona through the character Gabriel, we can conclude that Joyce himself feels a class above the rest, and this mentality has shaped how he views and writes about the world. Similarly, in Catalina de Euraso’s story, we see the subject of class again. However, the class in this context has to do with clothing and not intellect as we saw with Joyce. Catalina writes, “…gave me...

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