Date of Award

5-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

English

Advisor

Chapman, Wayne

Committee Member

Young , Arthur

Committee Member

Paul , Catherine

Abstract

This thesis is an examination of James Joyce's Dubliners as a collection of stories that is unified by an ongoing intersection between life and death. In the collection, the dead often serve to expose a deficiency in the living. The thesis explores four stories that share this theme in particular: 'The Sisters,' 'A Painful Case,' 'Ivy Day in the Committee Room,' and 'The Dead.' Each story is also presented in the context of how each relates to the progression from youth to public life within Dubliners. As such, the thesis also considers how Dubliners exhibits a progression towards isolation and paralysis in the living until the final story, 'The Dead,' which marks a reversal of this trend. Thus, 'The Dead' is interpreted as a positive, hopeful ending to the bleak collection, and such an interpretation resolves the ambiguity of the story and reinterprets its role as a conclusion to Dubliners. Furthermore, other themes and motifs that have been observed by critics are also examined in this thesis, including silences, communions, drinking, and the Oriental trend to the collection.

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