The Boarding House

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Margaret2015
Words 956
Pages 4
In The Boarding House by James Joyce we have the theme of powerlessness, social opinion, paralysis and marriage. Taken from his Dubliners collection the story is narrated in the third person by and unnamed narrator and what is interesting about the story is that the reader is given the point of view of two of the main characters in the story, Mrs Mooney and Bob Doran. Some readers will also notice that Joyce, as he does in a lot of the stories in Dubliners, is using colours (brown and yellow) to symbolise decay and paralysis. Instances of this within the story include Joyce describing what some of the lodgers in Mrs Money’s boarding house have eaten for breakfast. Joyce tells the reader that ‘the table of the breakfast-room was covered with plates on which lay yellow streaks of eggs and morsels of bacon-fat and bacon rind.’ This description is significant as Joyce is symbolizing, through colour the state of paralysis that exists within Mrs Mooney’s boarding house, particularly for Bob Doran. Another instance of Joyce using colour (yellow) to highlight a state of paralysis is the gilt clock that Mrs Mooney looks at when she is waiting for Bob to come and talk to her.
The idea or theme of powerlessness is also explored in the story while Bob is in his room thinking about what he has to do. He feels trapped, concerned about what his friends and employers will think about his relationship with Polly and by what the priest has told him he must do. The role of the priest in the story is significant as it is possible that Joyce is highlighting the level of involvement that the Catholic Church had in the lives of ordinary people in Ireland at the time that Joyce wrote Dubliners. Priests would have been the first port of call for a lot of people.
Any opportunities of advancement that Bob felt he had, both professionally and personally seem to be dashed as well, now that he…...

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