Dubliners Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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In "Dubliners", what role does the fire play in "Ivy Day in the Committee Room"? How does each character interact with the fire?

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The fire in the story is generally taken to represent Irish nationalism, the urge for independence from England. The story is overtly political, based as it is on the canvass for an election, and the various characters express diverse views on the political situation generally as well as on particular political and historical figures. All the while the fire is kept going, actually just about kept going, struggling to stay alight almost. Old Jack the caretaker (maybe even that's significant) is the one who pays most attention to it, while others barely notice it. The priest, for example, is in and out of the room in a flash, and doesn't go near the fire.

It is always difficult to know how seriously to take such...

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