>>7555953 Dubliners is a collection of stories that reflect Joyce's view of Dublin. The stories share very common themes and motifs (the constraining and pervasive influence of the Catholic Church, a state of paralysis experienced by all inhabitants of the city, the conflict between traditional Irish values and British influences, etc.), and traces characters from youth to adulthood over the course of the book (the first story has like a ~8year old kid give or take, and every subsequent character ages until we get to the ~50 Gabriel in The Dead). The book is circular in structure, and each individual chapter has some level of circularity to it, emulating Dante's circles (the first line of the book is :There was no hope for him,: echoing :Abandon all hope: in Inferno); the book opens with a boy looking into a window at a near-dead priest, and the book ends with an old-ish man looking out the window reflecting on death and youth and life and all that jazz (and there's a lot more looking-out-windows in between. Joyce liked windows,)
The Dead is a good synthesis of all the themes and motifs that the other stories introduced and feels a lot more powerful when considered as the final chapter of Dubliners as a whole rather than as a standalone story.
Dubliners is a short story collection, sure, but the stories have a relationship to each other, not just in terms of place and time but of progression as well. The early stories establish connections with earlier stages in life (and also prefigure death in real ways too), leading to more adult concerns later on.
>>7556057 My paper examined The Sisters alone with very little reference to the other stories, but the general consensus is that it serves to strengthen the idea of circular structure. In addition, it reinforces the theme of indistinguishability between the inhabitants of Dublin despite ostensible differences in age, sex, social class, demographic, etc., due to the fact that all of them are facing the same sources of paralysis (Church, England, etc.)
>>7556078 Joyce wrote some of the stories separately and published them in the Irish Homestead, but he edited them extensively before submitting the stories together for consideration as a single book ~10 years later, and it's that edited version we have today as "Dubliners." It's very obvious that Joyce made changes to the earlier stuff before the idea of a collection occurred to him to make the stories mesh better with each other. The Dead was not published before Dublinersm as a standalone.
>The first story in James Joyce’s collection Dubliners is titled “The Sisters.” Whereas all of the other stories in Dubliners that are named after characters refer invariably to the main character(s) of the stories, Eliza and Nannie in “The Sisters” play secondary roles in the story compared to the unnamed narrator and the deceased Father Flynn. We are presented with two contrasting views of Father Flynn – Old Cotter’s biased and malicious assessment and the sisters’ devoted and pious assessment.
>Attempts to use a “gnomonic” model of interpreting “The Sisters” as well as Dubliners at large are common, and most share the basic premise that something is missing from the story. Vicki Mahaffey in “Silence and Fractals” also identifies this gnomic characteristic, and formulates a core decision facing the reader as “readers of “The Sisters” are immediately confronted with a dilemma, then: given the reluctance of the narrator to explain what is going on, whether to himself or to an imagined audience, is the reader being prompted to generate explanations or to resist them?” (24). “Silence and Fractals” goes on to declare that “it is often said that “The Sisters” is gnomonic in its ellipses, but it is also gnomonic in lacking such other missing elements as narrative connections and explanatory or directive remarks.” (30). The Euclidean gnomon identified by the narrator is a parallelogram with a similar parallelogram removed, creating a L-shaped plane that is essentially a parallelogram that is missing a corner. In “The Sisters,” what is missing is elevated as just as important, if not more important, than what is present. More specifically, what is missing in “The Sisters” is an accurate explanation of the events that had transpired with Father Flynn and the narrator.
>Opposite Old Cotter’s antagonistic view of Father Flynn is the loyal and respectable image held by the sisters, Eliza and Nannie. In the 1904 first version, Eliza was explicitly described as “[Flynn’s] other sister,” with the first sister being Nannie (Joyce 205). In the expanded Dubliners version, however, this fact is deliberately obscured, leaving it open to interpretation whether “the sisters” refers to Flynn’s biological sisters or sisters of the church. This serves to blur the distinction between the life of the Dubliners and the presence of the Catholic Church. Indeed, there seems to exist no distinction between the two in this story as well as the rest of the collection. For the sisters, Father Flynn was nothing but the epitome of a man who spent his life in service to God and the Church, and his death was a calm and peaceful exit from the mortal world.
>>7556116 >Eliza’s speech is filled with interjection of “God be praised,” “Ah, poor James!,” and other seemingly mechanical displays of loyalty to both Father Flynn and the Church, showing the almost subconscious internalization of the church in the everyday life of Dubliners. Eliza brings up the story of Father Flynn’s breakdown, but does so with respect and deference that is contrasted with the gossiping malice of old Cotter.
>And just as the boy has a conflicted relationship with Father Flynn, the city of Dublin, and Ireland as a whole, has a conflicted relationship with the Catholic Church. Father Flynn used to be an educational and stabilizing figure for the characters of “The Sisters”, with his studies abroad in Rome and obvious intellectual sophistication compared to the sisters, who are portrayed as kind and pious but ultimately simple and uncultured, as shown when Eliza mispronounces the Freeman’s Journal as “Freeman’s General”. The degeneration of Father Flynn into madness is also the degeneration of the Catholic Church, which was once a stabilizing social structure, but is now an oppressive force.
>We come back to the question of why the story is titled “The Sisters.” We return to the idea that the driving force of the story is how the characters and the community react to death of Father Flynn, and by symbolism, the crumbling of the Catholic Church. Despite what seems to be common knowledge by way of rumors of Father Flynn’s past misdeeds, he remained the parish priest for the community and seemed, at least superficially, to be respected by figures like the boy’s aunt and uncle and the sisters.
>The choice of “The Sisters” as the title can be read as rejection of the choice of “Old Cotter” as a title – it is the deliberate ignoring of the true problems of Father Flynn and the church, and putting forward instead the sisters’ version of the story, where Father Flynn was a parish priest whose only fault was being “too scrupulous” and was so pious that a simple mistake of dropping a chalice during a service caused a mental breakdown . After all, with the passing of Father Flynn, gossiping rumors by Old Cotter will remain just that, rumors, whereas the “official” version that is accepted by all is respectful, non-scandalous account. A choice of “Father Flynn” as a title would promise a story about the true nature of Flynn, a detailed account of his life, and perhaps an explanation for the vague allegations thrown around in this story.
>>7556168 He had the idea for The Dead at around the time he first submitted Dubliners for publication, but that was ultimately rejected. He wrote a letter to his brother discussing The Dead/Dubliners, where he stated that he felt Dubliners in its current form was incomplete. It's clear he realized that The Dead would be the perfect conclusion to it, and the actual process of converting idea to words was made with full awareness/intention of having it close out Dubliners in mind.
OP here; y'all are getting really pedantic about whether or not Dubliners is best viewed as a novel or a short story collection. Does it really matter? It's fantastic either way. Sorry for making a statement apparently more controversial than i thought.
Anyone who thinks Dubliners can't be read as a collection of short stories is a fucking idiot.
OP, I really, really enjoyed The Dead, but I still think Borges is the master of the short story. Check the Library of Babel if one of your professor's hasn't already assigned you the Garden of Forking Paths.
>>7555993 If you're going to get all autistic about it then you might as well go the full 9 yards and say nothing in Joyce is a standalone, and you'd be technically right, only you'd be ignoring part of Joyce's brilliance: his capacity for hybrid literature. Yeah, it's not a short story, but it's not a fucking chapter either: it's BOTH, just like Portrait of the Artist... is prequel, standalone novel, kunstlerroman and autofiction all at the same time.
>>7559449 It's not an analogy, fag, it's a fucking fact of Joyce's work. It's all hybrid and intertwined. And if you think I'm memeing go ahead, try me, I've actually read and studied the motherfucker.
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