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Paralytic People: Paralysis in James Joyce’s “A Little Cloud”

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  1. Introductio
  2. The personifications of Chandler and Gallaher
  3. Making the readers focus on Dublin
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works cited

Tourists visiting New York City have one major complaint: the rudeness of everyone in the city. The tourists are not entirely to blame, though. The skyscrapers, steam rising from the streets, and the immense amount of concrete would make any non-New Yorker uncomfortable. Observers of New Yorkers would say that they are the city, and that their coldness reflects the icy winters and blank concrete. In 1914 the Irish modernist James Joyce published a collection of short stories that examines the city of Dublin entitled Dubliners. In Dubliners, Joyce's characters represent the city, each cementing an overall composite citizen and exposing idiosyncrasies simultaneously. The best portrait of Dublin in the collection is ?A Little Cloud.? In the story, Joyce examines Dublin as an inferior city through the personifications of Little Chandler as Dublin and Gallaher as London, whereby Dublin is a metaphorical bully that inhibits Dubliners from progression and Gallaher is a symbol of progression. Little Chandler's epiphany at the end is also Dublin's; showing the reader the true nature of the city and its people.

[...] Little Cloud? is wrought with its theme of paralysis and is parallel with the collection's universal theme of disintegration, but Joyce suggests that every human is paralyzed on one level or another. Through Chandler, the reader learns that Chandler is Dublin's child; effectively making Joyce's suggestion of paralysis about every city. Dubliners offers no solution to paralysis, but it should be regarded as an extremely poignant anthropological oral history of Dublin. What readers learn from Joyce's collection is that cities envelope people and have indirect and direct effects [...]


[...] The most poignant, profound part of Joyce's short stories is the epiphany at the end, appropriately called the ?Joycean Epiphany.? The epiphany always marks the morph in the character, and in Little Cloud,? Chandler's epiphany is one of remorse and cold realization that his impediments are self-made. Chandler's epiphany is Dublin's epiphany as well, and Brunsdale suggests transubstantiation of ordinary experience rather than indictment of spiritual corruption,? (30). Every story in Dubliners, except Little Cloud,? ends with the ?indictment of spiritual corruption? Brunsdale claims, and the transubstantiation is Dublin's epiphany. [...]

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