This work of art reflects life in Ireland at the turn of the last century, and by rejecting euphemism, reveals to the Irish their unromantic reality. Each of the 15 stories offers glimpses into the lives of ordinary Dubliners, and collectively they paint a portrait of a nation.There are 15 stories in this collection, all of which are set in Dublin. Joyce himself said that in these stories he wanted to explore the 'paralysis' that was Dublin. This is what my coursework will focus on as well, so if you have any thoughts on that subject don't hesitate to comment.
My favourite story was probably 'Eveline' in which the heroine, of the same name, awaits her elopement with her lover only to, in the end, be unable to. The 'paralysis' is probably the most obvious in this story, but it is also a beautiful story. It is very detailed and emotional and at the same time so short you can do nothing but admire Joyce for being able to create such a complex narrative in just a few pages. There are so many emotions out in the open and brimming below the surface that even in rereads I have discovered new things about it. The same thing, to an extent, counts for all other stories but it really stuck with me in this story.
What is quite interesting is the structure of the collection. They are divided into childhood, young adults, middle age and death. Although these themes, death and development, come up in all the stories, it is very clear that they are different categories. This means that as you read the stories you almost grow up and accept the paralysis that has spread throughout Dublin. You almost feel Joyce's claustrophobia as you read the street names and walk past the pubs and find nothing that is not Irish, not from Dublin. Even the characters that have seemed to escape have to return and seem caught in something else.
Overall I give the collection....
This collection of short stories is masterful. Joyce truly knows how to create with language. As you read, you feel like you are in Dublin, like you can feel the paralysis, and all of this is done through language and Joyce's intimate knowledge of Dublin. I recommend it to everyone, especially those who are scared of by the name James Joyce.