The Sisters Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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What is the structure of James Joyce's story "The Sisters" from the anthology titled Dubliners?

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The Sisters,” a short story included in James Joyce’s collection titled Dubliners, is structured in a number of ways, including the following:

  • The story opens by plunging in medias res (“into the midst of things”), a common literary device often used to provoke curiosity, create interest, and engage the reader’s own interpretive powers.  The prior “story” behind this story consists of a series chronological events.  Joyce, however, imposes his own “plot” upon that prior story and those events, beginning near the end of the prior story rather than starting at the chronological beginning.
  • “The Sisters” is told from the perspective of a first-person narrator, who turns out to be a youth who had been friendly with an old priest. Inevitably, then, everything that the youth tells us about others will help characterize him as well. The point of the story is not simply to tell us about a series of events but also to...

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