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The Church’s Grasp: Captivity in Joyce’s Dubliners

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  1. Introduction
  2. The character of Joyce
  3. The Catholic Church's controle of the boy
  4. The story of Father Flynn and his young companion
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

It is easy to recognize when one is held captive by the unfamiliar, but the crippling effect of familiar forces is not so easily realized. Throughout American captivity narratives, typically female Anglo-Americans are ensnared by Native Americans, the ?other? of early Anglo-American culture. The early Anglo-Americans imagined the Native Americans as the ?demonic barbarians? against which they defined their own opposing ?pious civilization.? The Anglo-American women's Indian captivity narratives supported and helped construct this dichotomy with horror stories in which they came to prove themselves exemplary Christians in the face of satanic peoples. The ?colonial? characters of James Joyce's Dubliners strongly identity themselves as Anglo-Irish just as the protagonists of women's Indian captivity narratives view themselves as Anglo-Americans. The Dubliners also fear and dream of the ?other,? the exotic inhabitants of the Orient as well as the Protestants that potentially lurk around the corner. However, in Joyce's tales it is everyday forces that hold the Dubliners captive instead of the other. As Anglo-American women find God while trapped among the other, Joyce's characters discover the lack of God and hope while held in the grip of the seemingly familiar, the Catholic Church.

[...] The Church's Grasp: Captivity in Joyce's Dubliners It is easy to recognize when one is held captive by the unfamiliar, but the crippling effect of familiar forces is not so easily realized. Throughout American captivity narratives, typically female Anglo-Americans are ensnared by Native Americans, the of early Anglo-American culture. The early Anglo-Americans imagined the Native Americans as the ?demonic barbarians? against which they defined their own opposing ?pious civilization.? The Anglo-American women's Indian captivity narratives supported and helped construct this dichotomy with horror stories in which they came to prove themselves exemplary Christians in the face of satanic peoples. [...]


[...] While staring at the cold eyes of his wife in Little Cloud,? Little Chandler dreams of rich Jewesses with ?dark Oriental eyes full of passion, of voluptuous longing,? (78). Ironically, the enchanting other for the Catholic schoolboys of Encounter? are the Indians of the Wild West as portrayed in popular boys' magazines. Although the stories contain ?nothing wrong,? according the narrator, they are banned by Father Butler who deems the tales ?rubbish? suitable for ?National School often Protestant children (12). [...]

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