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Dubliners - "Ivy Day in the Committee Room" (Story 12 of 15) 
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Post Dubliners - "Ivy Day in the Committee Room" (Story 12 of 15)
Dubliners - "Ivy Day in the Committee Room" (Story 12 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 11:08 am
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Post Re: Dubliners - "Ivy Day in the Committee Room" (Story 12 of 15)
The story begins the grouping that deals with public life. Each of these stories is more superficial than the ones preceding them, but that isn't a negative criticism, rather a good demonstration of Joyce's range as a writer. Supposedly, "Ivy Day" was also an unusual story for the day in that it is told primarily through dialogue. Some of what made Joyce a groundbreaking writer isn't so evident to us now because his techniques have been so influential with later writers.

This is a story to admire for its pacing, tone, deft characterizations, and breezy humor. I think I'll always remember the clergyman's face: "shining with raindrops, [having] the appearance of damp yellow cheese save where two rosy spots indicated the cheekbones." Of course, it has its serious undertone, but the emotional impact isn't going to be felt so much by moderns, especially non-Irish. Charles Parnell, the figure for whom Ivy Day is celebrated, was truly a giant in Irish history and could be guaranteed to evoke an emotional response in contemporary readers. He would still have been controversial, though, with many, since he did the unpardonable in Catholic Ireland, having an affair with a married woman.

The one main character, Mr. Hynes, who doesn't work for the campaign of Tricky Dicky Tierney, evokes the greatness of Parnell by reciting his original poem about the man's destruction at the hands of the public and the church. He reluctantly performs, which might indicate that even he is aware of the huge gulf between himself, as a political operative, and the ideals of the nationalist Parnell. But his poem, while over the top and merely competent doggerel, conveys sincerely the heroic qualities of Parnell. The poem deeply affects Mr. O'Connor, while Mr. Crofton seems little moved. "Mr. Crofton said that it was a very fine piece of writing."



Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:52 am
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