The Dubliners written by James Joyce is an Irish book which illustrates the nation’s society through a group of stories which all take place in Dublin. The author uses different characters in his stories that on first sight are not related, however, looked more thoroughly and precisely, the internal theme connection is seen. Joyce accurately uses the theme of paralysis in all his stories in a different manner. This way all the separate parts of The Dubliners create a bigger picture which is hidden behind the lines by the author. Using this theme of paralysis, Joyce truly reveals the problems which exist in the society and how destructive they can be, both physically and mentally, for any person no matter his social status, morality, or age.
Joyce uses separate stories in which he represents in a different way the theme of paralysis. This way there are numerous angles to this problem in the Irish society. Thus it is easier for the reader to portray to himself the situation and truly understand how the characters feel. The expression of the author also is easy to be understood and the stories are written in simple English. He commonly uses description and imagery, thus creating more interest in the reader. As a whole, the book itself represents a big theme scattered in each of the single stories. After finishing the book, the reader can finally see and perceive the real image of the society with its problems and values.”Ii had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight” (The Dubliners 175). This quote represents the last story and its final scene. It can be interpreted as a new beginning, or as the end of something. Using the image of the snow, the author represents purification, however, in reality this is only a cover up for the society which continues to suffer with its “paralysis”.
The theme of paralysis emerges in every story in the book. Each newly introduced character is affected by it. Such examples are the boy in “Araby”, the girl which cannot escape from her life in “Eveline”, the young lady which cannot decide for herself in “The Boarding House”. These are only a small part of all the examples; however, the importance here is the theme itself. James Joyce reveals to the reader not only a single aspect of the society or a certain part of it, but includes in his short stories people of all kinds. This makes the motive extraordinary, a problem that is worth attention and affects everyone. The following quotes:”O, Bob! Bob! What am I to do? What am I to do at all?” (The Dubliners 60) and “When she addressed the first words to me I was so confused that I did not know what to answer. She asked me was I going to Araby. I forget whether I answered yes or no” (The Dubliners 31) support the idea of paralysis in the text. As they are analyzed, it can be observed very clearly the common problem of both the boy and the girl in the stories. They fortify Joyce’s thesis about the problem that exists in his society and reveal the message of the author, the cry for change behind the lines of the book.
James Joyce’s The Dubliners is a good example for a book which is aimed towards a certain problem in the society. The theme of paralysis is embedded in each of the whole group of stories and thus illustrated through a number of viewpoints. This way the author creates a very interesting novel that reflects a society affected both mentally and physically by a serious “disease” called paralysis.