Dubliners

Characterization of Jimmy Doyle in "After the Race"

Just one of the many short stories compiled in James Joyce’s Dubliners, “After the Race” is an effective portrayal of the shame and misfortune that result from Jimmy Doyle’s efforts to become accepted by a wealthy group of men. His constant desire to present himself as an aristocrat, one who is consistently in the company of elitist individuals, undermines his ability to reason and make sound judgments. This weakness is exemplified principally by his reckless gambling and drunken speech. Jimmy’s obsession with advancing his social status leads to his demise as he ultimately finds himself in a state of desolation and poverty. The infidelity of Jimmy’s so-called friends further accentuates the malevolence of greed as the Frenchmen seem to accept Jimmy simply because of his investment in the motor establishment.

The success of Jimmy’s father promotes Jimmy’s desire to advance his own social status as much as it highlights Jimmy’s inherent naivety. Sharing his father’s principles, Jimmy comes to believe that being in the company of affluent Frenchmen will be quite advantageous and, to a certain degree, stimulating. Although the men are simply “acquaintances” (43) of Jimmy, he seems to find “great pleasure in the society of one who...

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