A Little Cloud and Counterparts: Two Faces of Paralysis

On the surface, James Joyce's Dubliners is a collection of short stories and unrelated characters woven together only by the common element of the city of Dublin in the early 20th century. Upon closer examination, however, it is evident that each story and character is connected by the many common themes that appear in every story. The main characters of the stories "A Little Cloud" and "Counterparts" seemingly have nothing in common; Little Chandler is a quiet, artistic man who rarely drinks or strays from his usual routine, while Farrington is an impoverished alcoholic on the verge of complete disaster. Yet each man experiences agonizing feelings of paralysis and a need to escape, leading to strikingly similar epiphanies at the end of each story. After a night of drinking and introspection, both Little Chandler and Farrington come home and take out their anger on their children, symbolically expressing their frustration with themselves and their tragic lives of boredom and missed opportunities.

"Little Chandler" earns his nickname not from his physical size, but because he "gave one the idea of being a little man." (Joyce 67) Joyce paints the picture of a shy, bookish man uneasy and...

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