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Books

Depiction Of Childhood In Dubliners By James Joyce

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

Author James Joyce incorporates the modernist style of writing and point of view in his short stories, The Sisters, An Encounter, and Araby. In Dubliners, he chronicles the lives of the people of Dublin. Focusing on the stages of life from childhood to youth and then adulthood. The first section of the book Dubliners by James Joyce, revolves around childhood and how, regardless of age, all the children experience feelings of disillusionment, alienation, and entrapment within their lives. These stories illustrate the Modernist themes of alienation through how the character is feeling. The narrators’ slowly begin to realize that everyone has their own perspective on life, nobody is ever going to one hundred percent understand your specific experiences as well as you do. The children experience and view life differently than adults do, a common theme in Modernist literature. The boys can only view the world through what they know, which is not a lot considering they are quite young. Overall, Dubliners shows childhood as a condition of not fully understanding the world around them.

In The Sisters, the young narrator highlights the disconnect between individual perception and reality. When his friend and religious mentor, Father Flynn, passes away suddenly and he is given the choice to view his body, he does not know to comprehend the situation, and goes on a walk instead: “I wished to go in and look at him but I had not the courage to knock”. He finds, that despite everything he once knew was changing right before him, the rest of the world remain unaffected, commenting “I found it strange that neither I nor the day seemed in a mourning mood and I felt even annoyed at discovering in myself a sensation of freedom as if I had been freed from something by his death”. While this constituted as strictly childlike, it does illustrate the Modernist themes of alienation through how the character is feeling. Now, the narrator slowly is beginning to realize that everyone has their own perspective on life, nobody is ever going to one hundred percent understand your specific experiences as well as you do. We are being told the story through the young boy’s biased and innocent mind, but slowly see more of the reality when we hear from Old Cotter and the sisters of Father Flynn.

An Encounter, describes a young man’s exasperating experience with an unusual elderly person. The narrator feels caught in the dull ordinary everyday practice of school and needed to encounter an experience like that in the Wild West stories he peruses. He mourns on his hopelessness, saying, “when the restraining influence of the school was at a distance I began to hunger again for wild sensations, for the escape which those chronicles of disorder alone seemed to offer me… I wanted real adventures to happen to myself. But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad”. This leads him and a friend to play hooky and travel around Dublin, despite the fact that they are still students with little experience of the outside world. While the young men hope to have a cheerful, lighthearted reenactment of the Wild West, in actuality, they are rather drawn nearer by a peculiar, frightening elderly person. In general, An Encounter demonstrates how longing for a break from the ordinary routine can really be hurtful as it puts the dreams in a distant light. The young men go heedlessly into their experience into Dublin without thinking about the outcomes. This illustrates modernist themes of relationship between perspective and reality because as we see the boys attempting to stray from their routines and find a new adventure, the reality is that routine and reiteration will always exist even in different and new experiences that stray from someone’s norm.

In Araby, we see a young boy who struggles to find the confidence to talk to the girl he obsesses over. “I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play”. Instead of true romantic feelings, the audience becomes aware of his obsession as he “thought little of the future” and “did not know whether he would ever speak to her or not or, if he did speak to her, how could he tell her of his confused adoration”. This disillusionment from reality and how the situation truly is, shows the theme of alienation as the narrator’s feelings for the girl are revealed to not be reciprocated. When finally, one day the girl decides to reach out to the boy and ask about the Araby, the boy makes a promise he is unsure and unable to fulfill, and the boy eventually gives up because he feels as though he failed the girl. This illustrates modernist themes of relationship between perspective and reality, because in the boy’s perspective we see his feelings of failure and defeat, rather than witnessing the reality of not always needing a gift or profession of love to express his feeling to Meghan’s sister. As the audience is viewing everything from the narrator’s point-of-view, there is no way of seeing how the girl feels.

Every one of the three stories has an intriguing interpretation of childhood. This makes childhood not a very desired place to be on the grounds that they are at a point in their life where in which they do not know much, but know just enough that they understand the different horrors they experienced. The narrator in Araby, who is obsessed with the young girl, is experiencing numerous feelings out of the blue and the fact that the circumstance will in all likelihood not end well, shows that what the boy will feel in turn of the heartbreak will still be very real and hurt just the same as if it were an adult. Experiencing this is an inclination to the neglected views of childhood and how kids were very misunderstood. The young kids in An Encounter skip school, which ultimately led them to a very strange encounter with an old man, this strange encounter led them to be in fear but could not express it. Each story had a totally different narrative and situation but all alluded to childhood being less than ideal and a seemingly neglected time of life, when experiencing odd or horrific situations.

Author James Joyce incorporates the modernist style of writing and point of view in his short stories, The Sisters, An Encounter, and Araby. In Dubliners, he chronicles the lives of the people of Dublin. Focusing on the stages of life from childhood to youth and then adulthood. The first section of the book Dubliners by James Joyce, revolves around childhood and how, regardless of age, all the children experience feelings of disillusionment, alienation, and entrapment within their lives. In these three stories, childhood is viewed as less than desirable, because as we eventually see the realities behind all of the boys’ point of views, we see what each situation was really portraying. Because these stories are from the young boy’s point-of-views, the audience can clearly see the Modernist themes present within them. The children experience and view life differently than adults do, a common theme in Modernist literature. The boys can only view the world through what they know, which is not a lot considering they are quite young. Overall, Dubliners shows childhood as a condition of not fully understanding the world around them.

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