Duality and Paralysis in "Two Gallants"

Duality and Paralysis in "Two Gallants"

James Joyce's "Two Gallants", from Dubliners, is at first glance the tale of two men driven by greed to manipulate a slavey. Lenehan and Corley enjoy their mischievous banter as they stroll through Dublin, all the while plotting to deviously collect money from a woman. When examined closer, "Two Gallants" is Joyce's commentary on urban life in Dublin, particularly the social paralysis of its inhabitants. In his article "Two Gallants," A. Walton Litz describes the story as "a cold-blooded assault upon the conditions of Irish society" (Litz 329). The culmination of the story exposes the gold coin, the end result of Corley's and Lenehan's scheme. The coin itself represents the two sides of Corley and Lenehan, men who live a perpetual adolescent existence in Dublin. Though Litz's description of the coin as a "true epiphany, a showing forth of a hidden reality" is accurate, he fails to probe deeply enough into the true meaning of this epiphany (Litz 335). In "Two Gallants" Joyce uses the coin both to symbolize duality within the main characters and to demonstrate the men's spiritual paralysis through...

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