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In "Ivy Day" the entire story revolves around a group of canvassers who are supposed to be out soliciting votes from the people they represent. However, they are not doing that. They are hanging around talking about the state of Ireland. At the end of the story, one of the men reads his poem about Charles Parnell, who was an Irish Nationalist. The man reads the poem, which talks about how good things would have been had Parnell not been disgraced by his own people. In this way, it is illustrated that they had their hopes and dreams pinned on Parnell, but they don't do anything to keep that dream alive for themselves. They have given up. Their paralysis comes in the fact that they can't do for themselves what Parnell was unable to do for them.
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