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In James Joyce's "Dubliners", what is the significance of these titles: The...

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whiteangel | Student | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted August 18, 2008 at 8:01 PM via web

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In James Joyce's "Dubliners", what is the significance of these titles: The Sisters, Evaline, Bording House and The Dead?

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Michael Foster | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 28, 2008 at 4:16 AM (Answer #1)

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In "The Sisters," the narrator's friend, a priest, has died, no longer associated with the church (a tragedy in such a heavily Catholic country such as Ireland) and alone except for his sisters.  The narrator feels some sense of freedom at the priest's death, but recognizes the deep grief felt by the priest's sisters, who recognize what a "disappointed" man their brother was.

"Evaline" is the name of the main character in this story, and is eloping with a man against her mother's wishes.  But on the way, she hesitates and returns to do her duty to her mother, leaving her fiance standing at the train station.

In "The Boarding House," the proprietress has a young daughter who has become a little too close to one of the boarders, Mr. Doran.  Doran holds Polly and her family in something like contempt, and has no qualms about making advances.  When a "shotgun" wedding is insisted upon, Doran is trapped, though the story ends on an ambiguous note.

"The Dead" refers to to Michael Furey, the long-lost love of Gretta, the main character.  Her husband finally realizes that she hasn't really loved him all these years, but instead pines for Michael, who died when Gretta was a school girl.  He realizes that his marriage has been haunted by "the dead" since the beginning.

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