“The Dubliners” a collection of short stories by James Joyce Essay
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James Joyce wrote “The Dubliners”, a collection of short stories. One in particular called “Eveline” influenced the narrative seen in “Far From Home”
“Far From Home” is written in the third person and is a character driven story. Free indirect discourse has been used to make the reader relate to the character. This technique allows the audience to gain insight into the character’s thoughts feelings and dilemmas without using the first person narrative. Examples of when Joyce uses free indirect discourse can be seen in the third person narratives such as, “Eveline”, “The Two Gallants” and “The Dead”.
In “Eveline” the main characters ambivalence is revealed at the beginning of the story: “She tried to weigh each side of the question.” The reader becomes aware of what Eveline is thinking and feeling about leaving home. This line describes almost entirely what the story is about – the confusion and thoughtfulness Eveline is putting into leaving home.
The protagonist in “Far From Home” is described using a third person’s perspective. When the protagonists in Joyce’s stories are young or adolescent he uses first person narrative to direct the story. The stories “Araby”, “An Encounter” and “The Sisters” are written in this narrative. In order to identify the first person narratives pronouns such as “I” “My” or “Me” are used.
When Joyce’s main character is an adult he writes in the third person narrative. “Eveline”, “Counterparts” and a “Little cloud” are written in third person narrative and to identify the narrative, pronouns such as “He/She” “His/Her” and “It” are used. “Far From Home” employs the third person narrative because Penny, like Eveline, is seen as an adult. This method in “Far From Home” shows that Joyce’s techniques are incorporated into the story.
Local dialect and street names, as seen in “Araby” and “The two Gallants”, are also seen in “Far From Home”. In “The Two Gallants” street names are used regularly to convey a documentary style attachment to reality “They walked along Nassau Street and then turned into Kildare Street.”
“Far From Home” refers to places like “Ol’Dive” and street names such as “Morrison Street”. This also conveys a sense of authenticity. Slang terms such as “on the turf”, used in “The two Gallants” give the reader an informal approach to the story thus creating a sense of realism. “Far From Home” also incorporates this style by using “chuck the bottle” and colloquial dialect, authenticity is added to the narration.
“Far From Home” resembles a storyline similar to that of “Eveline”. Penny, the protagonist in “Far From Home”, is paralysed by her father’s terrible drinking habits and aggression. Both characters know that their father may not survive alone. Penny lives with her father and finds it hard to cope with his drinking habits. Her father also has a girlfriend called Kristy who has two young children. Penny has an ill mother which she cannot see. This dilemma conveys a great deal of the frustration seen in the story. Similarly, Eveline feels trapped by her father’s drinking and violence, yet feels that father is too weak to survive by himself. “Her father was becoming old lately,” and “he would miss her”, suggests that Eveline’s father is weak.
Penny’s problems and thoughts drive the story, thus making it a character driven story. “Far From Home” intentionally develops Penny’s character rather than focusing on conveying a detailed plot. This technique reflects Joyce’s use of minimal action in his stories, creating a sense of paralysis which engulfs his characters. Both stories show the characters as they are facing a life changing dilemma; both characters are unable to complete their escape from it. This is an example of how minimal action and lack of resolution work together to reflect the theme of paralysis.
“Far From Home” also has a similar theme to that of “The Dead”. Penny feels that she has missed opportunities to love her mother and Gabriel feels he has missed the opportunity to love his wife in her youth. Penny resents the fact that she had stayed away from her mother for so long just because her father told her to. She realises that her mother will die soon and that they have missed a great deal of family bonding. The fact that both characters feel they have missed out on certain important events in their lives shows the similarities in the stories.
In the sense that Joyce uses paralysis, “Far From Home” uses cynicism. In The Dead Gabriel patronises his family and friends “…make himself ridiculous by quoting poetry to them which they could not understand…” Penny’s friend is also seen as been extremely pathetic. In the “Two Gallants”, “The Dead” and “A Little Cloud”, the characters are portrayed as been cynical or rejecting their home country. In “The Dead” Gabriel is called a “west Briton”; Little Chandler says “…minute vermin-like life…” Penny’s cynical side is revealed by the way she patronises Sarah: “Sarah was too dependent and weak in her eyes.” and calls the children, “screaming bundles of hate”, “Far From Home” relates to the paralytic and cynical attitude Joyce’s characters are all ready in.
In “Far From Home” grammar is occasionally used to create a dramatic effect. When Penny leaves her home and begins to make her way to the fields, “Left down Morrison Street towards what looked like a dead end”, a fragmented sentence emphasises the ‘dead end’ at the end of the sentence. This is to subtly elaborate the paralysis in the story.
To emphasise the situation at the beginning of “Far From Home” intentionally complex grammatical construction is used. Compound and simple sentences are regularly used for effect in James Joyce’s stories. He ties these techniques with a combination of many abstract sentences to create abstract ideas. “Far From Home” begins with an abstract idea for dramatic effect. “The sound slowly emerging from the street, the raw talent of the local ‘Charity for the Church’ band, calmed and slowed the frustrated breath escaping a hard chest.” By using modifiers, words or phrases used to specify the nature of another, the abstract idea can be emphasised. The sound is modified by explaining where it is coming from. The sentence is abstract because of how it is constructed and modified.
In “The Two Gallants” “A shade of mockery…..But Corley had not a subtle mind.” is a combination of sentences introducing abstract ideas to make the reader think thoroughly about the situation presented.
“Far From Home” is a fragmented narrative; this is to achieve effective characterisation as each fragment reveals a layer of depth to Penny’s character. Fragmentation also reflects the confusion Penny has faced throughout her childhood and adolescence. This is further intensified through foreshadowing, which is a literary technique used to reveal a partial amount of the ending without revealing what happens, “Far From Home” employs this technique: “…could still feel the ghost of her mothers, soft, cold hands.” This is because the story is a fragmented narrative and the foreshadowing adds emphasis on the upset state of mind Penny is in.
The protagonist’s sense of frustration is intensified with the use of emotive lexis and pathetic fallacy. Modifiers and verbs such as “frustrated”, “escaping” and “peace erupted” all add to the theme running throughout “Far From Home”. In order to make the reader understand the build up of paralysis and frustration at the end of the story, the oppressive mood needed to run constantly throughout the story. To be successful the story begins with Penny calming down from a stressful situation “…calmed and slowed the frustrated breath…”From this point on Penny is faced with frustrating or annoying situations: “…the screaming amongst the peace erupted…” The children Penny has to look after are a lot to take on at such a young age and Penny finds she is unable to cope with them.
The word “clouded” is used as a pathetic fallacy; to not only describe the feelings of the protagonist, but to also reflect the dull and confusing situation she is bound by. Another example used in “Far From Home” is “the room felt icy and empty. It felt like her head”. Penny’s surroundings represent the emotions she is feeling.
For dramatic effect, modifiers, with emotive connotations to convey the stressful or frustrating situations are used: the phrase “the stench of the bottle rose” reflects the disgust and hate Penny has for her father’s lifestyle. “Stench” is the word in this phrase which is most important as this is the word which conveys a disgusted tone. To continue the tone of disgust in the following paragraph other emotive words such as “circled” and “disgust” are used.
Semantics reflecting frustration and paralysis are used at the beginning of “Far From Home” and repeated throughout the story. The opening words are selected to combine the idea of escapism from paralysis, confusion and frustration. “Frustration” quite obviously reflects the ongoing theme and “hard chest” emphasises the feeling of anger. The word “hard” is an emotive word to reflect the tension built up with anger. “Escaping” dramatically emphasises the tone of the story. The dramatic sentence at the beginning of the story establishes the paralysed tone reiterated throughout “Far From Home”.
Alliteration is used when Sarah is introduced. “…stood, startled and shocked.” The alliteration of this phrase reflects the attitude and thoughts Penny has for her. Sarah is obviously an unorganised and unstable woman; this sentence reflects her personality and disposition.
Personification is another method of incorporating escapism from the paralytic lifestyle Penny is subjected to. Personification is used repeatedly throughout “Far From Home” it is used mainly to describe the moon as another person that Penny can relate to: “The moon whispered to Penny,”
An example of personification can be seen in “Eveline” when Eveline’s hands are given human attributes: “Her hands clutched the iron in frenzy.” The connotations of the word “frenzy” emphasise and represent the state of Eveline’s mind and her feelings of confusion and fright. At the end of “Far From Home” the same technique is used. “Frustration gripped her heart” this reflects the ongoing theme of frustration and the emotions Penny feels for her lost mother. “It was like a wave of warmth” The use of this simile adds to the effect of Penny calming down and the mention of waves or referral to the sea is usually incorporated with Penny relaxing throughout the story.
“Araby”; a story in which Joyce tackles the theme of the inadequacy of adolescence, employs an extended metaphor for the exotic surprises that we expect to discover in life and the disappointment experienced. The Bazaar represents the exotic, exciting lifestyle and the disappointment at the Bazaar represents the disappointment in life. To imitate the use of an extended metaphor in “Far From Home”, Penny’s mother’s illness represents the paralysis Penny is experiencing as a result of her lack of communication with her mother; Penny knows she can never share any moments of true bonding because her mother is too ill.
The end of “Far From Home” displays the use juxtaposition of these two words “…small, strong…” Along with the use of modifiers such as “mountainous”, “consumed” and “engulfed” Penny’s life seems to be represented by all that surrounds her in the hospital room with her mother. She is paralysed by life, because she is too small to fight it.