How Joyce uses language in "A Mother" 12th Grade

James Joyce’s A Mother is a short story based around the life of Mrs. Kearney, a strong-willed woman whose breach of convention results in the destruction of her acclaimed reputation. Joyce’s linguistic use of naturalism, modernism, and feminism, exemplifies the “paralysis”[1] of Dublin’s rigid societal conventions. It further reiterates the gender divisions that existed. The abstract use of language offers the reader different interpretations of the story without disclosing Joyce’s intended meaning. However, it also adds a layer of complexity for readers when analyzing simple interactions between characters, or trying to understand the characters themselves. Despite this, it is clear that Joyce’s use of the above linguistic styles are effective in making makes the reader’s interpretation of the story, their own.  

Joyce’s use of modernist techniques means that the language used is never absolute. He aims to deconstruct previous styles of writing, by manipulating the normal narrative structures of stories. This means that the reader is prevented from making an immediate judgment of Mrs. Kearney until after the story’s end. For example, Mrs. Kearney is described...

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