Dubliners-the kaleidoscope of society
Dubliners；the kaleidoscope of society
Dubliner, James Joys’ first book, perhaps is the easiest one for us
to read. James Joys is one of the greatest writers in English literature and has gained a global reputation. His masterpiece Ulysses has hailed as world classic and has ranked first in the lists
thof the most popular fiction in the 20 century. In Dubliners, Joys
wrote 15 stories to describe Ireland’s spiritual history and painted
vivid portraits of Irish. The stories were written at the time when Irish nationalism was at its peak, and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by various converging ideas and influences. Here, I would like to watch this kaleidoscope through different lens, but spiritual paralysis is the main theme through the whole novel.
Chapter one Spiritual paralysis
Spiritual paralysis refers to a statement of numbness,
disappointment, empty, and depression. In Dublin’s social life,
spiritual paralysis has become an inextricable disease of a
community. In terms of its background, Ireland at Joys’ age
was under the rule of England, politically and religiously, the
impotent government and chaotic situation made people into
paralysis, thus Ireland was the center of paralysis. In the Sisters, at the beginning, Joys directly mentioned the theme “paralysis”, which ran through the whole novel. “every
night as I gazed up at the window, I said softly to myself the
paralysis” ‘I knew that the old priest was lying still in his word；
coffin as we had seen him, solemn and truculent in death, an idle here, chalice is the symbol of religion. The disintegration of this
chalice is the lost of religious belief. The so-called religious life is a false self-paralysis.
It is quite normal that we encounter some dissatisfaction in today’s
society; meanwhile, we would feel helpless to change anything, naturally, someone will become numb to outside world and be surrounded by spiritual paralysis. Actually in comparison with physical paralysis, spiritual paralysis is almost incurable and incorrigible. Just as Hemmingway said, a man can be destroyed but not defeated. Spiritual power is formidable. If a nation was reduced to paralysis spiritually, this nation would be doomed to failure. Let me take Chinese nation in anti-Japanese war as an example, at that age, when Japanese soldiers shot innocent people, other people should look on this blooded massacre insensitively. No wonder Lu Xun, a Chinese literature warrior, gave up his medical career and began to write articles to wake up people’s awareness of rebellion.
We may say so, national spirit, like a man’s spinal column; support a
nation to go more far.
Chapter Two Love in puberty and the lost of youth In An Encounter and Araby, we can read out the love in puberty and lost of youth between the lines. It was written that “Every
boy," he said, "has a little sweetheart.” And “Then I stood up
abruptly. Lest I should betray my agitation I delayed a few moments
pretending to fix my shoe properly and then, saying that I was obliged to go, I bade him good-day. I went up the slope calmly but my heart was beating quickly with fear that he would seize me by the ankles.” From these sentences, we can image that a boy in puberty first encounter love, and the muddle-headed feeling and impulse affection, shyness and daydreaming. During our growing-up, everyone would have puberty love. With the youth gone by, love in puberty always fades into a pink beautiful memory in our life, pure and unblemished. When entering into the society, our love from the bottom of hearts is usually tinged and distorted by many social factors such as money, sexual inducement, and other interest. Today, many women, in order to not be mortgage slaves, they make their marriage a deal at the price of their true love; finally lose themselves and the marriage bliss. Therefore, love in puberty is the most pure and precious. If you are loved, you had better cherish the one who love you, even if you don’t love him, do not harm other’ love, for
everyone has the right to love and to be loved. Just as what it is written in An Encounter, “the happiest time of one's life
was undoubtedly one's schoolboy days and that he would give anything to be young again.” Time and tide wait for no man, when
you grow up, one day you look back , you will find that the schoolboy days is soul harbor for you in today’s complicated
Chapter three Epiphany in Araby
An epiphany is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has "found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture," or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deep or numinous foundational frame of reference. (Wiki) In Araby, it is written that “gazing up into the darkness I saw
myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.” In the end of story, the boy finally
realized his self-manifestation, just like a strong light in the flash lightning, at that moment of importance, everything become clear in a wink. To some extent, spiritual epiphany is a great leap from spiritual paralysis.
Actually, epiphany is everywhere in our life. Let’s take the Chan
sect as an example, according to its doctrines; epiphany transform an ordinary people into sacred Buddha just in a second, just like the brightness of a small light can break all darkness. Even in the great earthquake in Wen chuan, China, the whole world has witnessed Chinese cohesion and combating will, which is also an epiphany compared to the national paralysis in anti-Japanese war. In our life journey, we are always pursuing wealth, social status, and political power; meanwhile, we have neglected our parents, children, and friends. we finally struggled to grasp all of those things one day, however, our parents have passed away, children have disoriented themselves and gone astray. At that time, we may get epiphany；we
are barren and bleak in spirit. Why not spare more time to stay with parents or guide children’s life?
Epiphany is like sparkles which can be ignite at certain moment.
Chapter Four Psychological struggle in Eveline’s elopement
According to Freud’s psychological analysis,
Id, ego and super-ego are the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the ego is the organized, realistic part; and the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role. In Eveline, Eve line has suffered painful
psychological struggle in her planning elopement with that seaman. Her self-ego drives her to dream the happy life with Frank, and escape her rude and over-parenting father; however, her super-ego restricts herself to elope and drives her into a dilemma. Finally she did not realize his emancipation due to over stress in her heart. What a hard choice! “She set her white
face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no
sign of love or farewell or recognition.” What interesting is: id,
self-ego and supper-ego live in our body at the same time, when we come to make a decision; these three brothers often fight with each other. So we find it difficult to make our reason beat our emotion. Love is a permanent topic. The magic of love makes people blind and passionate. The mechanism of id tells people to combine love with sex. Due to self-ego, everyone wants to accompany his or her beloved through the whole life, become old together. When we try to pursue our true love, the super-ego restricts our pace like fetters. The families or society will tell us to find a husband with stable salary, high social status and decent family. Duing the three force combating in our bodies, kinds of conflicts and contradiction arise. That is why classic love is always with tragic ending, just like Liang Zhu( traditional Chinese Romeo and Julia)
Chapter Five death
The shadow of death overwhelms the whole story in the Dead.
Gabriel and Gretta attended a Christmas party, a song in the ball reminded Gretta her lover in her youth；Michael, who died after
waiting outside of her window in the cold. Gretta later fell asleep, but Gabriel remained awake, disturbed by Gretta’s new information.
He curled up on the bed, contemplating his own mortality. Seeing the snow at the window, he envisioned it blanketing the graveyard where Michael Furey rests, as well as all of Ireland.
From this story, we know Michael still lived in Gretta’s heart,
although he has died for many years. Actually, every ordinary man is mortal, nobody can escape the death. Some may feel fearful when death is mentioned; others may show dauntless courage to face death as long as they believe that this cause is worthwhile to sacrifice their
lives. In my view, the difference of their attitude towards death lies in how we interpret the meaning of death. Generally speaking, death refers to an end to everything; it is a transition from one statement to another statement. Someone are alive, but they are dead; someone are dead, but they are alive. As we all know, there are two kinds of death: physical and spiritual death. Those who are alive without any sympathy and love for the underprivileged are truly dead. Those who died with high morality, lofty idea and upright behaviors are alive forever. We may say, to some extent, death is a rebirth, a new start, such as the Nirvana of Buddha, the rebirth of phoenix; the great universe explosion…everything in the world is in a
circle from life to death. If death become the painful fetter for our life, it is not very bad for those incurable patients to accept euthanasia, because at that time, death is a kind of release from the painful mundane world. Life is really a transient moment. I think we can face death squarely and quietly. With time gone by, we will become old, everything happy and unhappy will pass, why not cherish our lives, learn to be thankful and tolerate for others, not value those material gains so much, I believe when death comes one day, life might be a harmonious and melodious piece of music.