Review

Review | Dubliners by James Joyce (2/5)

Your life will not change.

Isn’t Joyce just the encouraging one?

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The next three stories in the anthology are “Eveline”, “After the Race”, and “Two Gallants”, which are tied together by the idea of failed prospects.

Eveline

Eveline can’t wait to leave for Buenos Aires with her fiance, Frank. Frank will rescue her from her abusive father, from her boring, duty-driven life. But can Eveline, trying to keep good on her mother’s dying wish of keeping the family together, bring herself to leave?

“Eveline” is the epitome of two opposing forces driving a person apart. Eveline wants an exciting new life, but she also wants to make good on the promise to her mother. So does she pick duty or love?

The point of “Eveline” is that there’s an evil in both, evil that could drive someone to be emotionless altogether. And I like that idea. We need a healthy balance of both, and it has to be a balance of not only opposing forces, but the balance of the good and evil in them.

Recommendation: Buy. Definitely read “Eveline”. There’s something relatable and jarring about the idea of dreams versus duty, and I think it’s presented well here.

After The Race

Jimmy Doyle couldn’t be happier. Investing in a brand new car company, surrounded by fabulous people, the wealth and fame couldn’t be grander. That is, until the sun rises the next morning. Then regret sinks its hairy way in.

What’s great about “After the Race” is that you feel swept up in the chaos and ecstasy that Doyle is experiencing. The story starts with an elated tone, and it continues throughout the story, stained with traces of sadness, loss, and inevitable reality.

I like the quiet moment with Villona, the pianist. He knows what’s going on and how swept up everyone is, and how terrible its going to be once the euphoria is all over.

Recommendation: Buy. I find this story to be the kind of story you read before you graduate. It’s that feeling of feat, even when you feel like you’ve won.

Two Gallants

Corley and Lenehan are con-artists. While Corley takes a maid out for the night, hoping to get her to steal from her employers, Lenehan wanders the streets of Dublin.

Lenehan’s walk comprises most of the story, and the reader follows his thoughts as he wanders aimlessly through town. It’s almost a soliloquy, with his thoughts as he hates the way he manipulates his surroundings so he can barely make it by. During his walk he contemplates his life and how it won’t change if he doesn’t.

The real clincher in this story is the meagerness and irony of it all. In spite of the title, Corley and Lenehan are probably the farthest things from gallants, and the misnomer is both ironic and sad.

Recommendation: Read. This one was just a little too depressing for my tastes. It is a very good story though, and I would recommend it be read at least once.

Other Dubliners Reviews:
Part 1: The Sisters, An Encounter, Araby

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