James Joyce

In both selections from Dubliners, James Joyce uses very poetic prose to get his meaning across.  The way he uses his words has a significant effect on how the story is received.  In Araby, the nameless main character is infatuated with a neighbor girl.  The representation of his emotional state is full of rich imagery and character, such as when he writes, “my body was a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires” (page 2219).  He is almost consumed by his crush on this girl, which is very poetic in and of itself; however, Joyce does a superb job at effectively conveying his emotion, with lines such as, “at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom” (2219).

Eveline is less longing and more unsure and desperate.  She has an opportunity to leave her relatively unhappy life, but she backs out at the last second, feeling obligated to stay by a promise she made to her dying mother.  The final scene at the station is full of emotional imagery which evokes a strong sense of desperation.  When she hears the boat’s “long mournful whistle” (2225) and when “a bell clanged upon her heart” (2225), she panics and clings to the railing, looking “like a helpless animal” (2225).  One of the lines that really struck a chord with me was, “She gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition” (2225), because it provides such a strong sense of helplessness, as though she were completely taken over by her emotions and can no longer function.


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