What examples of form are there in Dubliners?Apart from it being a book of short stories and a snapshot of Dublin life

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

James Joyce's Dubliners was composed in a tripartite form, with childhood, adolescence, and adulthood as divisions.  However, there is also a five-part division with three stories each devoted to one of these categories:

  1. childhood
  2. adolescence (all the adolescents are failures)
  3. mature life (often includes married life)
  4. public life 
  5. married life

The second part, adolescence, ends the overt statement of ephiphanies as the latter stories reserve the ephiphanies for the readers' interpretations.  The final story, "The Dead," combines all five categories.

By reserving the ephipanies for the reader and by the use of naturalism in which there is no emotive language, Joyce allows his readers to come to their own conclusions.  Further, his method of presenting details goes beyond description to the level of symbol.  For instance, at the end of the story, "The Dead," Gabriel looks westward, a journey where the living and the dead will be united.  In "Araby," a story rife with religious symbolism, the boy sees the object of his infatuation in a confusion of the spiritual with the carnal as she appears to have a halo and the boy thinks of her as a maiden for whom he seeks "the grail."