Austin Cotner James Joyce Short Story Analysis

After reading both Araby & Clay by James Joyce, several patterns / similarities in Joyce’s work emerged.  The first was how much seemingly arbitrary detail both stories seemed to have.  As Jessie said, short stories don’t have the luxury of a large word count so they must pack a large punch.  Something Joyce did in both was devote a good portion of time detailing the movements of the main characters which, without much analysis, could be difficult to see the meaning of.

A similarity that became very clear was the way in which both Maria and the young boy somehow lose sight of the bigger picture in their pursuit of having the little things go correctly.  For instance, the little boy was not satisfied with having part of his day off of work and some money to spend, but instead wanted more time off and more money to spend at the Bazar.  In the same way, Maria (the main character in Clay) became so obsessed with the fact that she lost her plum cakes that the entire night seems to be lost to frustration.  Both of these examples could be pointing to the desire of the working class at the time to always want a little more time and a little more money.  Also along this vein of working class rights/desires is the hesitance of both characters to work for something better.  As taken with Mangans’ sister as the narrator in Araby is, he is somewhat reluctant to do anything about it and when he is finally given something of a chance he gives up very quickly.  In Clay, Maria starts out overjoyed at the prospect of spending the evening with Joe and his family but when she arrives and realizes the cakes are gone she doesn’t really allow herself to enjoy the free time she has.

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3 thoughts on “Austin Cotner James Joyce Short Story Analysis

  1. Austin, I had a very similar interpretation to both of Joyce’s short stories. I agree that Joyce seems to focus most of his time on “detailing the movements of the main characters”. I found this overwhelming and it seems forced. Using a program, such as Gephi, would help to show connects between characters and places that we might have missed when reading the short stories. Gephi would provide a road map for the reader so they can focus on the content of rather than the movement sod the character.

    • It was hard for me to grasp the full concept because of the numerous amount of details and also found it a bit overwhelming. I agree that Gephi or a similar program would help because it would break down the relationship between the charterers and locations which would be a bit easier to follow personally.

    • Mapping out the character’s movements on Gephi would hopefully reveal a pattern that showed either a similarity or difference between the respective protagonists in the two stories. If a similar pattern emerges, Gephi could be used to provide evidence to Austin’s argument about the character’s similar motivations. One could map out the little boy’s movements in Araby, and then Mangan’s sister’s movements, and seeing if the little boy follows her. A similar process could be used to map out Maria’s path. Then, the two paths between Maria and the little boy can be compared.

      Furthermore, an argument could be formed by the Gephi maps, or instead, we could start with an argument (like Austin’s) and then use the Gephi maps as evidence.

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