Dubliners Ivy Day in the Committee Room: Questions and Answers

James Joyce

Ivy Day in the Committee Room: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. The men wear their collars turned up due to the weather. What is the irony in this?

2. Jack longs for the good old times of Ireland and Irish politics, but the younger men don’t. What does this imply?

3. Before he was a politician, what was Richard Tierney’s profession?

4. The men are extremely focused upon the arrival of the stout. What does this imply?

5. There’s irony in their distrust of Tierney in light of question #4. What is it?

6. Why is Fr. Keon described as looking like “a poor clergyman or a poor actor”?

7. What does Tierney’s connection with Keon imply?

8. What does O’Connor’s unwillingness to discuss Parnell’s history tell us?

9. What is the significance of all the contradictory elements in the story’s narrative?

10. Comment on Crofton’s response to Hyne’s poem at the very end of the story.

Answers
1. The irony is that the ivy (which they wear in Parnell’s honor) cannot be seen.

2. Jack, because he’s older, has a greater sense of Parnell’s significance, but the younger generation of Dublin politicians can’t recognize this.

3. He ran a used clothing store, taking advantage of people and over-charging them.

4. It implies that they’re alcoholics.

5. As soon as the stout arrives, their opinion of Tierney improves remarkably.

6. Keon is probably a de-frocked priest and not good at acting like one.

7. It implies that Tierney’s background is questionable, like his friend Keon’s.

8. It signifies a guilty conscience and an unwillingness to be honest about the past.

9. The men say they support what’s best for Ireland, but they are—in fact—corrupt. They have no political consciences.

10. Crofton says “It’s a fine piece of writing,” but doesn’t comment on the sentiment, which is its most important characteristic.