James Joyce

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How does James Joyce criticize Father Flynn in his story "The Sisters"?

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Joyce's depiction of Father Flynn in "The Sisters" is marked by hints, innuendoes, and vague suggestions. As such, we never get a full picture of who this man really was or what made him tick. The only portrait we have of him comes to us through the eyes of others, such as the narrator and the old priest's sisters. This means, inevitably, that what little information we are given about Father Flynn is partial, incomplete, and potentially unreliable.

Nevertheless, the allusive quality of Joyce's descriptions of Father Flynn does suggest a certain critical stance on the part of the author, both toward Flynn as a priest and as a man. To some extent, Father Flynn's paralysis is symbolic of the general cultural malaise that Joyce believed had hung over Ireland for centuries. Joyce also believed that one of the main components of this malaise was the malign cultural influence exercised by the Catholic Church over Irish society. Paralysis is a common theme throughout Joyce's stories, and it is...

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