Symbolism in an encounter by james joyce

Agata Szczeszak-Brewer's students blog about literature, culture, and theory. Influenced by the likes of Joe Dillon and other Wild West adventures, the boys arrange to miss school in order to achieve a sense of freedom amid the streets of Dublin. While on their adventure, the narrator and Mahony encounter the burly sight of a Norwegian vessel, the commercial life of the city, and a peculiar conversation with an old man. We see that the boys are interested in the world around them and fulfilling their day of adventure rather than listening to an old hag from the city.

Symbolism in an encounter by james joyce

Taken from his Dubliners collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed male who is looking back on an incident from his childhood and after reading the story the reader realises that Joyce may be exploring the theme of escape and failure.

Despite his desire to have an adventure or to escape from the world that he knows the narrator never actually reaches his intended destination, that being Pigeon House.

Rather he ends up sitting on an embankment while an old man, considered by critics to be a pervert, tells him what he would like to do to Mahony.

Whether Joyce is accurate or whether he is persuaded by his own personal opinion of life in Dublin is left to each individual reader to decide.

However there is no doubting that there were high levels of poverty in Dublin when Joyce wrote the story which may have contributed to the disaffection that was felt at the time by those who lived in Dublin.

Characters in "An Encounter" in Dubliners

Which would again suggest that there were levels of poverty in Ireland that not all Irish people, like the narrator and Mahony who are seen eating food at different stages of the story, may have encountered. Though it is also important to note that there are also some similarities between all four boys which Joyce highlights at the end of the story.

Joyce may also be attempting to criticize the Catholic Church in the story, which he also attempts to do in other stories from Dubliners. At the time many within the Irish Catholic Hierarchy considered a National Schools education, which was not only multi-denominational all religious faiths but was also not controlled by the Catholic Church, to be inferior to the education that was provided by the Catholic Church.

As to why this may have been is debatable. Viewing their own educational practices and methods to be superior to those of a state sponsored education system. The end of the story is also interesting as Joyce appears to be exploring not only the theme of disappointment but he also appears to be further exploring the theme of loyalty.

Symbolism in an encounter by james joyce

As mentioned previously the narrator never completes his adventure, he never reaches Pigeon House and as such he has not only failed in his task but there is also a sense that he is disappointed with how his day has turned out.

He has also, rather than experienced any sense of escape, been exposed to a more negative side of real life through his encounter with the old man who again many critics suggest is a pervert or a sexual deviant. If anything it is possible that Joyce by having Mahony show the same loyalty that the two poorer boys showed the girls is suggesting that despite a Catholic or Jesuit based education which the narrator and Mahony have received, the reality is that children regardless of how they are educated are in essence the same.

On Grace - from Dubliners

Cite Post McManus, Dermot. The Sitting Bee, 30 Apr.The young unnamed narrator of James Joyce's 'Araby' is in love with the older sister of his friend, Mangan, who fortunately lives just across the street from him. James Joyce's Dubliners was published in , and it was his first major work of fiction.

He'd put out a book of poems a few years earlier. He'd put out a book of poems a few years earlier. The Irish born author James Joyce was one of the most important representatives of modernism (Kreutzer ).

His first literary works appeared in a collection called Dubliners. The short stories in this collection deal with the everyday life in Dublin. ‘Poetry, even when apparently most fantastic, is always a revolt against artifice, • Mixture of symbolism and realism In his later works (Ulysses, Finnegans James Joyce The Sisters An Encounter Araby After the Race The Boarding House Eveline Two Gallants A Little Cloud Clay Counterparts A Painful Case.

In An Encounter by James Joyce we have the theme of escape, failure, paralysis, disaffection, poverty, disappointment, loyalty, education and coming of. James Joyce published his collection of short stories entitled Dubliners in Unlike some of his other works, this collection is made up of stories that focus on a particular topic—the lifestyle of the Irish middle-class in Dublin around the late s and early s.

SparkNotes: Dubliners: “An Encounter”