Why James Joyce Rewrote The Sisters

James Joyce wrote two versions of his short story "The Sisters," the first one under the pen name of Stephen Daedalus. Both versions tell the story of a boy and a priest, Father Flynn. The latter dies, and the people around him react to the loss. They share memories, they speculate about his morality, and they contemplate sin. The boy had been close with the Father, but he is slightly ambivalent about the death. Joyce's final version of the story runs completely parallel to the first one, but it contains some major differences. Joyce filled in blanks and elucidated the characters more fully2E The final version of "The Sisters" is a more appropriate note on which to begin The Dubliners. Joyce added several themes that connect this story to the rest. One important addition is the mention of paralysis. Paralysis, an overarching theme of the entire collection, is not nearly as explicit in the original version of this story. Another difference is that, in the final version, the young boy is extremely self-conscious and frustrated. He feels deep anger and irritation easily, and he monitors his behavior constantly for fear of embarrassing himself. Finally, and more generally, the final version is much darker....

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