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Dubliners is a collection of 15 stories which are divided into four sections and grouped according to the human development. The first section is about childhood, and it consists of the following stories: “The Sisters,” “An Encounter,” and “Araby.” The section two is concerned with adolescence and its stories are: “Eveline,” “After the Race,” “Two Gallants,” and “The Boarding House.” The third section focuses on maturity, and it includes four stories: “A Little Cloud,” “Counterparts,” “Clay,” and “A Painful Case.” The fourth and the last section concentrates on the public life and is made up of 4 stories: “Ivy Day in the Committee Room,” “A Mother,” “Grace,” and “The Dead.”
The reason why the collection is structured in this way is because Joyce wanted to show a progression of the feelings of disillusionment and paralysis from the innocent world of children, culminating in the whole of Ireland. He wanted to show how regardless of age, all characters felt the same oppression and inability to control their lives.
All the stories in the collection represent different stages of life, from childhood to maturity, and all the characters struggle with the same issue, regardless of their age. They are all placed in the same situation, and they all feel that they are prisoners of the environment which they live in. It is also worth knowing that all these stories illustrate the tension between the world characters live in and the world they yearn for.
The first three stories are categorized under childhood (hence why they are written in first person)
The next stories come under adolescence and adulthood - and are in third person to show parallel with the thought process already assembled in the opening stories
All of the stories can be read either on their own, or as one large story. I would read it as the latter, because they all connect together and share common themes, such as paralysis and isolation
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