Dubliners Counterparts: Questions and Answers

James Joyce

Counterparts: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What tone does Alleyne take when reprimanding Farrington?

2. Why does Joyce describe Alleyne as small and egg-shaped in appearance?

3. Where does Farrington imply that he’s been going all afternoon?

4. What is suggested by the fact that Farrington holds out for an extra shilling (a small amount) at the pawnbroker’s?

5. What is the symbolism implied in Farrington’s pawning of his watch?

6. The bartender is referred to as a “curate.” What’s the irony in this?

7. What is the significance of the alluring woman at the bar?

8. Farrington’s wife is at the chapel when he returns. What is the irony in this?

9. Why is Farrington so often referred to as “the man” instead of by name?

10. Why can’t Farrington recognize which of his children approaches him at the end of the story?

Answers
1. He condescends to Farrington as if the latter were a child, implying Farrington’s absolute powerlessness.

2. Alleyne is childlike in appearance, indicating that he, too, is powerless among his own level. None of these characters has meaningful control over his destiny.

3. He implies that he’s been visiting the men’s room, but it isn’t believed.

4. It indicates how broke Farrington actually is.

5. The watch represents time and the future. However, he doesn’t care about his future since he needs a drink so badly.

6. A “curate” is also a name for a priest. Farrington needs alcohol like others need religion.

7. She represents another element that Farrington can’t have (like money or power). It’s a further frustration for him.

8. Although she’s religious, this can’t salvage her terrible life with her husband.

9. He has no individual identity; he’s just another unimportant clerk.

10. His children mean nothing to him. They, too, lack individual identities for him.