The Erotic in Joyce's "A Painful Case"

The characters whom inhabit Joyce's world in "Dubliners," often have, as Harvard Literature Professor Fischer stated in lecture, a "limited way" of thinking about and understanding themselves and the world around them. Such "determinism," however, operates not on a broad cultural scale, but works in smaller, more local, more interior and more idiosyncratic ways. That is, the forces which govern Joyce's characters are not necessarily cultural or socioeconomic in nature, but rather, as Prof. Fischer stated, are "tiny," and work on a more intimate level. In any case, as a result of such "forces", these stories often tend to be about something, as Prof. Fischer said, that doesn't happen, about the "romance of yearning and self-disappointment." Joyce's story "A Painful Case" is a perfect example of a story about something that doesn't happen, and more specifically, about "the romance of yearning." It is through such yearning, however, and the various "erotic" forms that such yearning takes, that Joyce's characters are able to transcend the "forces" which govern their lives. In "A Painful Case" the...

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