Dubliners Review

4/5 stars
I found it hard to get into at first. The stories don’t leave you with a sense of resolution. Then I realised it works better if you see each story as a piece in the larger picture of the Dubliners, and then it felt easier, though still really generally depressing to read. I also found it hard to care about the characters, because they felt really real. It felt like they occupied their own reality, and my involvement as a reader wasn’t necessary for them to exist, if that makes sense. By the time I got to The Dead, I was starting to enjoy the feeling of aloof life, and I appreciated the detail of place, time, person. The appendix in my edition is as larger, probably larger, than some of the stories.For the first story I did refer to the appendix, which was illuminating, but then I was like I’d rather just accept what I don’t recognise. I especially liked Grace, to me this story felt the most like it ended somewhere different emotionally. I really liked the Mother’s frustration in A Mother,’They wouldn’t have dared to have treated her like that if she had been a man’. This seems the most defiant the women in the stories get, ‘we witness its terrible silences’ (Introduction, Terence Brown), the terrible silence of women’s lives. The mother’s defiance is ironic though, as it is completely out of proportion and unsuccessful. The witness the stories offer to women is mainly a silent one, and with all oppressed life, the key note is mute. A Painful Case nicely demonstrates this, and was the closest I felt Joyce came to suggesting a moral judgement on a character, ‘He listened again: perfectly silent. He felt that he was alone’. You can interpret that loneliness however you like, as an indictment or a justification. Maybe both.

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