Dubliners Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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Where does James Joyce use stream of consciousness in the "Dubliners" stories?

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Eleanora Howe eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As the other answer to this question suggests, Joyce does not use stream of consciousness narration in Dubliners; he uses that technique most famously in his later novel Ulysses, which depicts the inner monologues of Leopold and Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus as a tumbling rush of associative language, a sequence of thought that moves along like a stream (especially in Molly's chapter, which dispenses with the convention of complete sentences and delivers thoughts in a seemingly endless stream without punctuation).

However, Dubliners is well-known as an example of another important narrative technique: free indirect discourse. Using this narrative technique, Joyce's third-person narration adopts the style of his character's consciousness, resulting in a text that is not directly "inside" a character's head but that nonetheless mirrors his or her distinct way of thinking or speaking. A famous example of Joyce's free indirect discourse occurs in the very first sentence of "The Dead": "Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet." Now, as the subsequent narrative reveals, Lily wasn't actually knocked down, as the first sentence suggests. Rather, she's merely so busy with receiving guests to a party that she feels as if she's been "run off her feet." The sentence becomes an example of free indirect discourse because the third-person narrator adopts Lily's distinctive use of language to convey an idea, thus giving us a snapshot of her consciousness.

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anzio45 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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While it some years since I have read Dubliners in full, I don't recall any passages that could be regarded as stream of consciousness narration. For the most part the stories are told in a fairly conventional, linear narrative style. At some points we are taken more inside a character's head than usual - the boy's ultimate despair and self-criticism in Araby, or Gabriel's self-revelation in The Dead, for example - but even here I would regard the narration as conventional rather than stream of consciousness.

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isella3 | Student

I don't think there is any Stream of consciousness in Dubliners. Dubliners in the reign of Epiphanies, whereas Ulysses is that of the Stream of consciousness.


chrisunderciz | Student

Actually, I think, there is no manifestation of the complete technique in Dubliners but we can have a preview of his later novels.

So, in Araby, we see the world from the point of view (or within the mind) of the boy. Instead of looking at the story from a camera above, we see the world from the boy's eyes. And, also, we have to guess what's left out of the narration; we don't have the full picture but parts of it, as long as, that is, they are perceived by the boy himself.