Dubliners

Eveline as Ireland: a realistic and symbolic approach

Eveline as Ireland: a realistic and symbolic approach

James Joyce has always been widely regarded as a major exponent of ‘the children of a fragmented, pluralistic, sick, weird period’ as Nietzsche called the artists of the time (Bradbury, p. 7). His career as an artist may be considered a ‘journey from realism to symbolism’ (Daitchies, p. 66) for which he chose Dublin as departure as well as destination. As a result of his desire to exhibit the city’s inhabitants’ suffering, he produced Dubliners. Even though this work was originally created by commission as a collection of short stories to be published in a magazine with the purpose of describing rural Irish life for a general audience, Joyce realized that he could give his stories a unified pattern. Therefore, by giving them an overall purpose he bound them around specific themes, symbols, techniques and even characters.

We must bear in mind that Dubliners is the beginning of Joyce’s transition from realism to symbolism, and as such, its structure is partially defined in terms of each technique. The systematic and increasing use of symbols establishes relationships between ‘superficially disparate elements in the stories’, i.e. much of the composition remains invisible until...

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