In what ways can Dubliners be defined as a modernist text? What characteristics of modernism can be found in James Joyce's Dubliners?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

First published in 1914, Dubliners is James Joyce’s collection of fifteen short stories which depict life in the Irish middle class.

A key theme throughout the collection is the social paralysis present in Ireland that Joyce believed stifled cultural progression. This social paralysis came at a time of rising Irish nationalism which is reflected in the work.

Modernist texts aim to capture and illustrate the nature of the individual compared with overwhelming social and cultural trends in a naturalistic way. Joyce juxtaposes the downtrodden Dubliners with the British citizens. He realistically portrays the hatred the Irish felt toward the British. Characters throughout the collection are described as being emotionally and spiritually dead, which reinforces the effect on the individual.

Aside from the subject matter, the work is also modernist in its form. Modernist texts deconstruct the traditional five-stage story structure of exposition, rising action, climax , falling action, and...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 685 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 9, 2020
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team