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Dubliners - "After the Race" (Story 5 of 15) 
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Post Dubliners - "After the Race" (Story 5 of 15)
Dubliners - "After the Race" (Story 5 of 15)


Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century. The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak, and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by various converging ideas and influences.



Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:15 am
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Post Re: Dubliners - "After the Race" (Story 5 of 15)
Arg, I had to erase this. I want to know what you guys think first. I have my thoughts already but they aren't quite coming together liked I hope. I felt strongly about this story and then I questioned what I was thinking and now I'm a little lost.



Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:38 pm
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Post Re: Dubliners - "After the Race" (Story 5 of 15)
You've got me interested, Comacho. I don't seem to have strong feelings about this story, myself. It's a great whirl of color and movement and is a total contrast to the grey or brown tones of the other stories, stories about the Irish. This one is about people of color, so to speak, the flamboyant foreigners who have that certain something that is connected with money but can't be purchased. Well, at least here we have a male character with a name, so we can refer to Jimmy, whose name, even, seems not quite up to the glamor of his companions. Jimmy is intoxicated throughout the story, even before the drinking starts, with the company that he, an Irish son of a butcher, is keeping. It must be quite a rush for him, running with this crowd. Of course, he's a rube for all his nouveau riche status. He and his supposedly shrewd father are taken in by the huge, poor Hungarian, and Jimmy's victimized at the card table, which might have been the plan all along. The American also doesn't make out well; he's the other non-sophisticate in the group. The card game might be the foreshadowing of what will become of Jimmy's investment in Riviere's motor company.



Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:34 am
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Post Re: Dubliners - "After the Race" (Story 5 of 15)
Well, the beginning didn't do anything for you? How the oppressed backward mob was cheering for foreigners? How the boy was gambling his father's earnings on some foreign adventure that would probably turn up like his little card game? It was a significant shot to privileged youth. The whole thing was a gamble - not calculated risk but just risk for the fun. Jimmy was way over his head. He liked the excitement but was stupefied by it. Meanwhile the work that went into getting his inheritance will most likely be taken from him. It's a fool and his money are soon parted type of tale.

The only undercurrent which really gets me is that Jimmy is educated. He has been given the best education possible by his wealthy father and is still a dolt. His wealth hasn't bought him wisdom or judgment. If this is a shot at aristocracy then it's a very, very, very good story! It rivals Rand's little d'Anconia line of incredibly gifted men...



Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:26 pm
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Post Re: Dubliners - "After the Race" (Story 5 of 15)
Aw, you're being too hard on Jimmy, aren't you? He acquits himself quite well, all in all, serving as host at dinner, steering the conversation away from politics when it gets heated, and being one of the guys in a way that made his socially insecure father proud. He's no great shakes, no doubt, regardless of the upper-crust finishing schools his dad has sent him to. But he doesn't disgrace himself, even though he gets carried away, can't think straight, and gets taken to the cleaners at the poker table.

Joyce's point must be the gulf that separates the Irish from the rest of Europe. That gulf was real. As recently as the 1950s, Ireland was viewed as almost a third-world country.

I thought the crowds were rooting for the French because there wouldn't have been any Irish teams in the car rally. Anybody but the English, was probably the sentiment.



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Post Re: Dubliners - "After the Race" (Story 5 of 15)
What jumps out for me in this story is how ironic and sarcastic Joyce's narrator is. For example, check out the first paragraph:

Quote:
THE cars came scudding in towards Dublin, running evenly like pellets in the groove of the Naas Road. At the crest of the hill at Inchicore sightseers had gathered in clumps to watch the cars careering homeward and through this channel of poverty and inaction the Continent sped its wealth and industry. Now and again the clumps of people raised the cheer of the gratefully oppressed.


As Camacho says, the Irish are cheering for the foreigners. The "gratefully oppressed" phrase is of used ironically and throughout the story, the narrator exaggerates and uses many exclamation points as if to mock the characters' attitude. "The dinner was excellent, exquisite. Segouin, Jimmy decided, had a very refined taste."

And even that last line, when we know Jimmy has pissed away all of his money is framed in a mockingly positive way. "Daybreak, gentlemen!"

Is Joyce making a comment here about the plucky irish trying to frame their catastrophic decline in positive ways?


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Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:46 pm
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Post Re: Dubliners - "After the Race" (Story 5 of 15)
Yes, exactly!!!! Those little gems are dropped throughout the story. Including Jimmy being in the back seat not understanding, his considerable inheritance being nothing but a 'mite', and the Irish aristocracies inability to compete with foreigners who are wealthier, smarter, more productive, and so on.

He's out of his league and instead of looking IN Ireland for improvement he looks without for notoriety, acceptance, and a step up. Meanwhile the masses aren't proud of themselves - they're too amused like Jimmy is to sit down and consider self-worth... to demand their own cars, cheer for them, and promote them with effort and pride.

I don't know about your question, Geo. I don't know that much about Irish history.



Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:20 pm
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