The Portrayal Of Women In James Joyce's Dubliners

2629 words - 11 pages

In Dubliners, women are victims indeed. They are victims of home, of the recognized virtues by society, of classes of life, of religious doctrines, and of women themselves. In this essay, we are going to analyze the portrayal of women in Dubliners in terms of the aforementioned aspects, namely home, the recognized virtues by society, classes of life, religious doctrines and women themselves.

The selection above is provided to make student aware of focus of the essay.  The complete essay begins below.

"My mind rejects the whole present social order and Christianity – home, the recognized virtues, classes of life, and religious doctrines…. My mother was slowly killed, I think, by my father’s ill-treatment, by years of trouble, and by my cynical frankness of conduct. When I looked on her face as she lay in her coffin – a face gray and wasted with cancer – I understood that I was looking on the face of a victim and I cursed the system which had made her a victim." (Letters, II, 48)

In Dubliners, women are victims indeed. They are victims of home, of the recognized virtues by society, of classes of life, of religious doctrines, and of women themselves. In this essay, we are going to analyze the portrayal of women in Dubliners in terms of the aforementioned aspects, namely home, the recognized virtues by society, classes of life, religious doctrines and women themselves.

Women are victims of home. They suffer being confined to their homes. They are somehow isolated from the external world. They have little, if not no at all, freedom. Their chief roles are to be good wives to the menfolk, to be good mothers to their children, and to look after their families well. They are not expected to take care of those affairs outside their boundaries. Therefore, they are not easily seen having their careers or working outside their houses. In case they do work outside, they just take up those junior or minor positions, often in the musical world or are just working for the sake of their families. In Eveline, for example, Eveline is entrapped in her home. She leads a hard life. She has to work hard both in home and at business. At home, she has to do all the household chores and look after her two younger brothers. In A Mother, we are introduced to another kind of women, a devoted and responsible wife and mother Mrs. Kearney. She is so proud of having a good husband and a happy family that sometimes she cannot help but show off in front of other women:

"My good man is packing us off to Skerries for a few weeks" (P. 135).

Mrs. Mooney in The Boarding House, on the contrary, is obviously far less fortunate than Mrs. Kearney. She is a victim of her husband, who is a drunkard and who often beats her, even before other people.

It is often said that marriage is the extension of a family. Through marriage, one family is linked to another. In this regard, we have a third kind of women who are victims of the institution of marriage. In The...

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