Analyze the relationship between Lenehan and Corley in “Two Gallants.” Note where the story touches on issues of class, gender, and the political situation of Ireland.

In “Two Gallants,” Lenehan and Corley have an unequal friendship in which Lenehan is the more passive, dependent figure. While Corley is domineering and aggressive, he is also self-centered and depends on Lenehan’s praise to bolster his ego. Class and gender intertwine as the two working-class young men aim to charm or manipulate women into financially supporting them. The political situation of Ireland is evoked by the harp, which symbolizes both national pride and the subordination to England.

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In James Joyce’s story “Two Gallants ,” Lenehan and Corey are friends but not equals. They have a codependent relationship in which the self-centered Corey repeatedly asserts his own superiority, and, at first, Lenehan seems to be a passive audience for his grandstanding. It becomes apparent, however, that...

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In James Joyce’s story “Two Gallants,” Lenehan and Corey are friends but not equals. They have a codependent relationship in which the self-centered Corey repeatedly asserts his own superiority, and, at first, Lenehan seems to be a passive audience for his grandstanding. It becomes apparent, however, that Corey’s vanity and blustering are expressions of an insatiable ego that constantly needs to be propped up, so he needs Lenehan to fill the role of admirer. Lenehan does not seem comfortable on his own but prefers to have a companion, even one who belittles him.

The class and gendered dynamics of the story are tightly interconnected. The masculine bravado that Corey exudes apparently makes him appealing to women, a quality that Lenehan apparently lacks and admires. The ambivalent but close relationship between them speaks of strong male homosociality that excludes women. The men seem to objectify women and aim to manipulate them into providing financial support, no matter how slight. Their behaviors are associated with their working-class status, which includes limited employment opportunities.

Ireland’s political situation can be understood in gendered terms, as the harp that symbolizes Ireland is characterized as female and subjugated. As the dominant member of the pair, Corey can stand for England, the country that rules over Ireland. At the same time, as both men are feminized in their financial dependence on women, both can stand for Ireland’s subordinate status and the de-masculinizing effect of foreign control.

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