As he portrays it in his work, Joyce’s Dublin was composed mostly of lower-to middle-class residents oppressed by financial hardships, foreign political dominance, fractiousness among rival Irish nationalist groups, and the overwhelming influence of the Irish Catholic Church. Combined, in Joyce’s eyes, these forces and travails left the ordinary Dubliner with few options for self-expression or freedom of the soul; hence, Joyce’s theme of “paralysis” was established.
In the late 1800s, Ireland was still reeling from the agricultural disasters of mid-century and the...
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