Dubliners

Male Frustration in Dubliners 12th Grade

Vexation and disillusionment are prevalent themes in many of the stories in Dubliners, but male frustration is arguably strongest in two of those stories: Araby and Counterparts. In these stories, Joyce portrays male frustration in different forms, from romantic exasperation in Araby, to ineptitude and emasculation in Counterparts.

Araby describes a teenage boy’s infatuation with a neighbor girl. Joyce arguably foreshadows the book’s unfortunate ending by referring to the girl as “Mangan’s sister”. Mangan is the last name of a famous Irish poet who wrote about doomed love and the despair it brought. Joyce choosing to refer to her by her brother’s last name emphasizes how distant the protagonist is from her and how little he knows about her. The boy’s feelings for her evolve throughout the story and trigger him to try and mature into an adult. Ironically however, he is shown to be emotionally immature and childishly overdramatic by Joyce’s use of language. In order to convey his obsession, Joyce employs a first-person narrative structure. This allows the reader to feel the narrator’s unfiltered emotion. These are conveyed through the narrator’s overblown and exaggerated language. He is obsessed, his “body was like a harp and her...

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