Dubliners

The Pursuit of Knowledge in the Age of Ignorance 12th Grade

Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is power. Plato created “Allegory of the Cave” to define the structure of society and illustrate the pursuit of knowledge—or lack thereof. On the other hand, James Joyce’s “Eveline” portrays a more down-to-earth tale of a young woman facing a difficult decision that could change her life if she leaves behind everything she has ever known. Through the symbols integrated within Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” Joyce’s “Eveline” exhibits a modern, more realistic portrayal reflecting themes such as Eveline’s home as the “centre of paralysis” perfected by Joyce, the passivity and naïvety of Eveline’s character that prolongs manipulation, the character arc of Frank represents the liberated prisoner, and Eveline’s epiphany and unwillingness to leave reflects refusal toward enlightenment; drawing on the philosophy embellished by Plato, Joyce depicts a member of society who consciously chooses to remain ignorant.

Eveline’s home is the “centre of paralysis” perfected by Joyce that reflects Plato’s concept of the cave. Plato articulates that the prisoners are not aware of what goes on in the real world “Behold! Human beings in an underground den … here they have been from their childhood” (Plato 1) but...

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