Thrice Joyce: A Third Reading of “Dubliners”

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This was my third time to do so, and it’s probably been five or more years since the last reading. The first two times were bittersweet, except for “The Dead,” which is, of course, perfect.

As a reader trying to be a writer, I was particularly drawn this time around to “A Little Cloud” with its themes of paralysis and procrastination and daydreaming reminiscent of Thurber’s “Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

“A Painful Case” also struck me, particularly that last paragraph, and that line “He began to doubt the reality of what memory told him.” To me this means that, by the end of the story, for Duffy, Mrs. Emily Sinico, the woman who has died, has now become the memory of a memory for him.

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Slick Phrases from Joyce that caught my eyes and ears:

“glad of the dark stupor that would cover his folly” (After the Race)

“Deep energetic gallantries” (Two Gallants)

“bet your bottom dollar” (A Little Cloud)

“slake the thirst” (Counterparts)

“the inane expression of sympathy” (A Painful Case)

“keen pang of lust” (The Dead)

“heliotrope envelope” (The Dead)


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