Relationships with Community, Family and Between Male and Female Are a Constant Source of Inspiration for Irish Writers. Discuss with Reference to Examples from Three Genres.

2385 Words Oct 15th, 2010 10 Pages
Relationships with community, family and between male and female are a constant source of inspiration for Irish writers. Discuss with reference to examples from three genres.

In Dubliners, James Joyce portrays relationships in the nineteenth century to be unequal. Women live in servitude to their men folk, and are portrayed as the weaker sex whereas children are hardly seen or heard. The position of women and children under masculine dominance in Joyce’s stories runs in parallel to the political position of Ireland as the conquered neighbour of imperial England. Consequently, just as the native language of Ireland was hushed, the voices of his women and children are muted too, and simultaneously their actions are subject to their male
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It is a coercive relationship; it seems the Priest wants the boy to be almost brain washed into believing his religion. The Priest mentally abuses the boy, as Joyce shows that the Priest thrived on the boy getting answers wrong to the religious quizzes he sets for him. The boy is fascinated by the Priest, but the fact that he is relieved when the Priest is dead shows that it was an unequal relationship and the boy was almost freed by the Priest’s death.

“I felt even annoyed at discovering in myself a sensation of freedom, as if I had been freed by something by his death.”

The Priest’s sisters’, Eliza and Nannie’s relationship with their brother was of a subservient nature. While it is clear that they were extremely fond of him, it seems as though their whole world revolved around their brother. They wouldn’t see him “want for anything”, yet they were depriving themselves in the process. As the boy notices when watching Nannie in the dead room,

“how clumsily her skirt was hooked at the back and how the heels of her cloth boots were trodden down all to one side”.

In this story, Joyce shows us that marriage was the only way that a woman could improve her plight. When Nannie and Eliza are speaking with the boy’s aunt, they refer to her a “Ma’am”, whereas the aunt refers to them as merely “Miss Flynn”. The aunt is considered of a higher status simply because

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