Sunday, December 29, 2019

Essay about Search for Meaning in James Joyces Dubliners

Search for Meaning in James Joyces Dubliners Throughout Dubliners James Joyce deliberately effaces the traditional markers of the short story: causality, closure, etc. In doing so, the novel continually offers up texts which mark their own complexity by highlighting the very thing which traditional realism seeks to conceal: the artifice and insufficiency inherent in a writers attempt to represent reality.(Seidel 31) By refusing to take a reductive approach towards the world(s) he presents on the page - to offer up meaning or ending - Joyce moves the reader into complex and unsettling epistemological and ontological realms. Meaning is no longer unitary and prescriptive, the author will not reveal (read impose) what the story†¦show more content†¦The Sisters exemplifies Butlers notion of modernism as the allusive aesthetic. The title guides us toward one erroneous assumption - this must be a story of women, of family, etc. - while the story itself brings forth another - this, then, is the story of a priests death, a boys reaction. Neither is correct, as both are necessarily reductive. The inability of Joyces story to be summarized, encapsulated, echoes the inability of words themselves to fix meaning, a central preoccupation of The Sisters. From the first page words fail to contain meaning, they spill over with excess meanings in the form of multiplying allusions, misinterpretations, even betrayals: He had often said to me: I am not long for this world, and I had thought his words idle. Now I knew they were true. (Joyce 9) This opening passage is crucial in its implications, which pull against the storys overarching theme of the impossibility of capturing some meaning or truth about the real through words, and by extension, literature. For in the boys invocation of the priests statement we are presented with a quasi-religious view of the power of words. His supposed misinterpretation of the priests words, I had thought his words idle, (n)ow I knew they were true, is itself muddled. He imbues words with a mystical, constitutiveShow MoreRelatedThe Search for Truth or Meaning in James Joyces Dubliners1788 Words   |  8 PagesThe Search for Truth or Meaning in Dubliners       Several of James Joyces stories in Dubliners can read as lamentations on a frustrating inability of man to represent meaning by external means, including written word. When characters in Araby, Counterparts, and A Painful Case attempt to represent or signify themselves, other characters, or abstract spiritual entities with or through words, they not only fail, but end up emotionally ruined. 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