Dubliners quotes

Quotes to learn from Joyce's Dubliners

The Sisters

"Every night as I gazed up at the window I said slowly to myself the word paralysis."

"It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it to look upon its deadly work."

"I imagined the heavy grey face of the paralytic. I drew the blankets over my head and tried to think of Christmas. But the grey face still followed me."

"He was a disappointed man. You could see that." 

"No one would think he'd make such a beautiful corpse."

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An Encounter

"The adventures related in the literature of the Wild West...opened doors of escape."

"But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home; they must be sought abroad."

"...examined the foreign sailors to see had any of them green eyes for I had some confused notion...The sailors' eyes were blue and grey and even black."

"I met the gaze of a pair of bottle green eyes peering at me from under a twitching forehead."

"his mind was slowly orbiting round and round the same orbit."

"He ran as if to bring me aid. And I was penitent; for in my heart I had always despised him a little."

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"Her name sprang to my lips in moments of strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why)"

"But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires."

"The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me."

"Gazing into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger."


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"As she mused the pitiful vision of her mother's life laid its spell on the very quick of her being - that life of commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness. She trembled as she heard again her mother's voice saying constantly with foolish insistence: "Derevaun Seraun! Derevaun Seraun!"

"She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror. Escape! She must escape! Frank would have her. He would give her life, perhaps love, too. But she wanted to live. Why should she be unhappy?"

"moving her lips in silent fervent prayer"

"he would drown her"

"No! No! No! It was impossible. He clutched the iron in frenzy."

"passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition."


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After the Race

"The Frenchmen sung their laughter and light words over their shoulders and often Jimmy had to strain forward to catch the quick phrase. This was not altogether pleasant for him, as he had nearly always to make a deft guess at the meaning and shout back a suitable answer."

"Jimmy did not know exactly who was winning but he knew he was losing. But it was his own fault that he frequently mistook his cards and the others had to calculate his I.O.U's for him."

"He knew he would regret it in the morning but at present he was glad of the rest, glad if the dark stupor that would cover up his folly. He leaned his elbows on the table and rested his head between his hands, counting the beats of his temples. The cabin door opened and he saw the Hungarian standing in a shaft of grey light: 'Daybreak, gentlemen!'"

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Two Gallants

"Most people considered Lenehan a leech but, in spite of this reputation, his adroitness and eloquence had always prevented his friends from forming any general policy against him."

"He plucked at the wires heedlessly, glancing quickly from time to time at the face of each newcomer and from time to time, wearily also, at the sky. His harp, too, heedless that her coverings had fallen about her knees, seemed weary alike in the eyes of the strangers and of her master's hands."

"Then with a grand gesture he extended a hand towards the light and, smiling, opened it slowly to the gaze of his disciple. A small gold coin shone in the palm."

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The Boarding House

"The boarding house was beginning to get a sort of fame."

"Polly began to grow a little strange in her manner and the young man was evidently perturbed. At last when she judged it to be the right moment, Mrs Mooney intervened. She dealt with moral problems as a cleaver deals with meat: and in this case she had made up her mind."

"only one reparation could make up for the loss of her daughter's honour: marriage."

"He had a notion that he was being had."

!Her hopes and visions were so intricate that she no longer saw the white pillows on which her gaze was fixed or remembered that she was waiting for anything."

"Then she remembered what she had been waiting for."

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A Little Cloud

"If you wanted to succeed you had to go away. You could do nothing in Dublin."

"He looked coldly into the eyes of the photograph and they answered coldly."

"A dull resentment against his life awoke within him. Could he not escape from his little house?"

"It was useless. He couldn't read. He couldn't do anything. The wailing of the child pierced the drum of his ear. It was useless, useless! He was a prisoner for life."

"His heart closed together as he met the hatred in them."

"tears of remorse started to his eyes."

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