James Joyce played an important role in the shaping of literature today through novels and stories he wrote that had deep impact in the world of literature. Joyce was a Dubliner and no matter if the story he wrote was in Dublin or not it would always take readers to the world of Dubilners…

Joyce was an author of Dunlin, for him all that mattered to be told would happen in Dublin. Just like Platoon who searched for the right imaginary state, Joyce experienced all things in life in Dublin therefore delivered his stories through Dublin. In his opinion Dublin was the combination of all things to be respected and ridiculed. Just like several other authors who worked to reach the universal through local (it’s unknown how one can understand the universe without understanding the local) he found the truth within life and talked about things to be done in Dublin for pages and pages in Ulysses. However may be just like his famous Ulysses, what could help us understand Dubliners and therefore Joyce was his work Dubliners.

Joyce was the eldest of 10 siblings. His educational life was mainly with the Jesuits which is of great importance. The Jesuits are the first widespread missionaries in history and therefore they were the benchmark of colonial history. Jesuits would work to Evangelize the geography that they traveled to, they aimed to deliver Christianity without changing native culture in some way they were the first anthropologists. As luck would have it, Joyce is said to have lost his faith in Christianity as a result of his educational in Jesuit schools, when he started at a very young age and ended upon his graduation from university. However it is not surprising that he was from a Jesuit school. The Jesuits were famous for education top level individuals from different fields to serve their purpose. Joyce made it to the University College in Dublin although the Jesuit influence was limited as a result of the Royal University Decree passed in 1879, the lecturers were still Jesuit monks. Joyce was educated on language rather than theology and philosophy. He spared time for extracurricular activities and reading, he specifically read books which were not promoted by Jesuit monks. Later in life Joyce lived in several cities. He decided to be a physician, a banker. He crossed beyond Irish borders. He traveled to Rome, Paris and Zurich and realized that he missed Dublin at the end of the long journey. He loved Dublin, may be his childhood memories about Dublin fed the bad sides of Dublin in his memories although what made the Joyce we know was the unease he felt during the time he was away and fed the good sides of Dublin.

Dubliners is not only about Dubliners. There are also depictions of Dublin which is the city itself that forms the subsidiary component of life in Dublin. The story “Two Gallants” begins as follows: “On an ash colored mild August evening that fell upon the city was a breeze that reminded the summer on the streets. The shutters were closed for Sunday rest in houses but the streets were cheerful and colorful with the crowds. Street lamps like shiny pearls atop long poles would change the image of things below while the mild summer night changed not with the wuthering lively texture that spread fancy glares.”While he lengthily depicted the streets the weather cast was the psychology of the city in a nutshell.  Dubliners, contains the information of what Dublin is for Joyce along with the residents of the city and the author himself.

In his work the Dubliners, Joyce addresses the residents of the city the same way a wise man would address his children. He loves them as well as he criticizes them. First and foremost he talks down on them for not being themselves yet are not as they want to be either. As he tells them not to feel inferior while he unearths the inferiority complex asking them not to envy people from other nations or cities. He also talks about the wrong actions displayed when Dubliners act the way they actually are. There are 15 stories in the book Dubliners and there are different characters from the poorest to the richest parts of the city. The stories by Joyce were written upon the demand of GerorgeRussel for stories on Ireland, the stories which had been published in the magazine through a long time period were later collected into a book. So what did Joyce have to say about Dubliners? For example if we don’t dig deep we will assume that rich Dubliners could satisfy their desires from many aspects and would not have inferiority complex. However in “After the race” Joyce mentions the foreign admiration of top level Dubliners in a condescending manner. Joyce started out to talk about the ordinary life of the ordinary man in order to genuinely reflect the reality of Ireland, and his success comes from not only his observation of the individuals but also for his rich depiction of the objects, places, social life and everything he writes about. This way he mentions the extreme nationalistic approach that is caused by the wannabe attitude by individuals. This is how Dubliners are from Joyce’s opinion. They are never at balance, always on the extremes…

James Joyce, has deeply influenced the 20th century literature through his opinion of the art of novel writing, he has also influenced generations of writers to follow, spreading until our day, Joyce is one of the most analyzed authors in terms of academic studies.

The term epiphany was used to describe the action of Greek Gods when they showed their divine qualities to ordinary man. Joyce re-used this term in his-own way. To define the instant when the reality about a person or thing is out in the open-up. He managed to provide details in his observations through experimental epiphanies.

By: Faruk Kanber

*This article was  published in the  November– December issue of Marmara Life. 

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