The Dubliners - The Sisters.

The first story in James Joyce's collection of short stories, all based in Dublin, that don't seem to go anywhere.

The next story: An Encounter.

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The Sisters
Firstly, some important facts about James Joyce:
Joyce was very Atheist and disagreed with the extremism of Religious Beliefs in
Ireland, particularly Dublin.
The major religion of Dublin and Ireland is: Roman Catholic.
Only men are allowed to become Priests in Roman Catholicism.
Women (in Dublin) are expected to stay at home and raise the children and
maintain the house. Men were expected to work. (Joyce was very much against
this system).
Joyce explains this system as Social Paralysis.
All of these points affect all of the short stories within The Dubliners, but most are shown
in The Sister.
Plot Summary:
The Sisters gives a portrait of the relationship between a nameless boy and the
infirmed priest Father Flynn. The priest who has been relieved of his priestly duties has
acted as a mentor for the boy in the clerical duties of a Catholic Priest.
The story starts with the boy contemplating Father Flynn's illness and impending death.
He is fascinated with interpreting signs and symbols, and their meaning.
Later, while the boy eats his dinner, his aunt, uncle, and old Cotter have a conversation
in which the boy is informed that the priest has died. The conversation focuses on the
priest and his relationship with the boy.
That night the boy is haunted by images of the priest, and he dreams of escape to a
mysterious land.
The next day the boy goes to look at the announcement that the priest has died, and
then wanders about, further puzzling about his dream and about his relationship with the
That night the boy and his aunt go to the house of mourning. They view the corpse with
Nannie, and then they sit with the sisters Eliza and Nannie. They are offered food and
drink, and then Eliza and the aunt carry on a conversation that reveals that Father Flynn
had apparently suffered a mental breakdown after accidentally breaking a chalice. The
dialogue then trails off.
Joyce almost literally tells us that this story is going to be about Social Paralysis
within the first paragraph.

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Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis."
Joyce also explains that the source of the paralysis is the Religious upbringing of
all those in Dublin.
(After thinking on the word 'Paralysis') "But now it sounded to me like the name of some
maleficent and sinful being." (Maleficent and Sinful are both words related to religion
and Evil.)
Throughout the story, all men (except the narrator) seem to be lazing around.…read more


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