The Dubliner Dilemma : Circumstance or Environment
The problem. The series of fifteen stories progress from childhood to maturity and reveal the paralysis (Joyce's term for the Dubliners) or entrapment of Dublin's citizens. Some learn from the paralysis and profit by the experience such as the small boy in "The Sisters" who gains spiritual and intellectual knowledge when he learns something about the paralysis of the priest. Others can never change and are caught in the paralysis of their environment such as the dutiful daughter in "Eveline" who weighs the idea of leaving against staying and concludes that it is her duty to stay. Procedure. Research includes background material on James Joyce: his resistence to the smothering effects of his country, religion and family on his intellect and spirit; it includes a careful study of each of the stories; and it includes an examination of various critics and their works for contributions whether their ideas are in agreement or disagreement with this thesis. The plan of analysis and presentation includes, then, an introduction section of the thesis which summarizes facts about Joyce's background relevant to his stories of paralysis, a general statement which is made of the problem dealt with in the stories, and finally each story constitutes a chapter of the thesis which is analyzed on the basis of whether the main character gains knowledge from the paralysis and thereby rises above the paralysis, or can never change and therefore remains in a state of paralysis.