James Joyce: Paralysis and Epiphany essay

There was no big “TA dad,” no beautiful happy ending, only an “epiphany’. The question is whose epiphany, the characters or the readers? The goal of this paper is to provide understanding and acceptance of James Jockey’s literary works through an explanation of the history, interpretation, and significance of “paralysis” and “epiphany. ” In order to understand James Jockey’s meaning of paralysis there is a need to examine life in Dublin during the late nineteenth century into the early twentieth century. During this time, Dublin was a diverse city full of contradiction and tension.The city had little work, low wages, and rampant mistreatment of workers. Most of Dubbing’s population was extremely poor and destitute.

In addition to the poor living and working condition, Dublin suffered from a divided government and a divided populous. Dublin was the first city of Ireland; however, it was strongly under British rule, causing the city to have two main societies, the British upper class and the oppressed Irish lower class, which were constantly at odds. This created vast undertones of anger and discord, which ultimately lead to the formation of an extreme sanitations militant group determined to through the British out.The Dublin of James Jockey’s childhood was a city divided and on the brink of a war.

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(The National Archives of Ireland) Adding to all of the societal and cultural factors of life there were also spiritual factors contributing to the paralysis of Dubbing’s inhabitants. Although Dublin had a diverse religious background, the majority of its citizens were devout Roman Catholic and followed a strict religious regiment. The children went to Catholic schools and the families followed Catholic doctrine. However, the citizens received little if any help from the hurry during this era.

In addition to all of this, they were expected to follow the strict doctrine of the church, doctrine that forbade them from taking action against their oppressors, forbade them from anything that could possibly harm their church or family, and forbade any attempts to leave their position in life. They were taught that God was their only salvation and that if he chose to he would deliver them from their hardships. This caused the majority of the citizens to mindlessly go about their lives, praying for God to change things, and effectively prevented them through fear from taking steps o make changes themselves. The Vatican) These factors created turmoil and undertones within the city, which lead the majority of the population to stagnate or paralyze.

The citizens became what Joyce referred to as the “living dead,” which is quoted by Gerard Hannah, writer for the Irish Media Man Web site, as meaning “people who live meaningless lives of inactivity are the real dead” (Hannah). Dublin contained a society full of individuals who went about their daily lives not because of desire, but out of pure robotic need to follow an expected routine.It was a thriving city on the surface, but underneath it was actually full of individuals who had lost hope of a better future. It was a city full of individuals who were unwilling or unable to escape their own self-imposed prison of existence. The significance of this was never lost on Joyce and he used the paralysis of his Dublin to write powerful literary stories designed to make obvious the destructiveness of resigning to a stagnated life. Joyce felt that the paralysis of Dubbing’s citizens greatly influenced their decisions, which continually kept them from progressing forward.Joyce wanted his readers to gain a greater understanding of what railways could do to life. He wanted his readers to recognize the sad irony of being physically alive, but mentally and spiritually dead, while constantly moving through life with no real direction.

He wanted his readers to learn from the paralysis of his characters, and hoped that his stories would provoke them into action against their own paralysis. Joyce despised the paralysis that gripped those around him, and through his stories, he intended to shock his readers free of it.Joyce made those intentions very clear in a letter to his editor, which stated, My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history f my country and chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the center of paralysis. I have tried to present it to the indifferent public under four Of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life.

The stories are arranged in this order. I have written it for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness and with the conviction that he is a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still more to deform, whatever he has seen and heard (Williams).Although, Joyce loathed the paralysis he witnessed daily, he used it to create ingenious literary stories. He took the ell life paralysis he saw and used it in his characters to structure the plot of his stories. His theme of paralysis creates a strong desire for readers to want to read the story to its ultimate end.

It engages his readers in the characters’ lives causing an emotional bond to form between his audience and his characters. The paralysis of his characters forms a need in his readers to see the story to its conclusion, while harboring a strong hope that the conclusion will end the characters suffering.However, Jockey’s stories do not conclude in a way that readers would typically expect; instead, the reader is confronted tit an eye opening epiphany that leaves them deep in thought about the characters inability to act when the time for action arrived. However, to fully understand these epiphanies the reader needs to understand what epiphany truly means. Historically, the epiphany is a term of awakening, it represents “an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity’ (Dictionary. Com). Its roots are thousands of years old and are ingrained in religious doctrine as the appearance of Christ to his followers after his death.

For this reason, the epiphany has a strong tie in the Catholic faith, and it is celebrated yearly urine the Feast of Epiphany to commemorate its significance to the doctrine of Christ. It is a day for Christian followers to celebrate the reappearance of the son of God, in an effort to remind followers of the great sacrifice he bore to save their souls (neatened. Org). Joyce, having been raised Catholic, had been taught the doctrine of the epiphany, and had celebrated in the religious ceremony of the Feast of Epiphany through most of his young life.This meant that the epiphany was a strong force in his upbringing, so it was something that he understood and fully grasped from a religious standpoint.

However, Joyce saw greater meaning in the word epiphany. He saw the epiphany as more than just the physical awakening of Christ or some magical revelation. According to the James Joyce Center, Joyce himself never defined exactly what he meant by epiphany, but we get some idea of what it means from the way in which the character Stephen Deals defines it in Stephen Hero, an early version of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.Stephen says that epiphanies are a sudden and momentary showing forth or disclosure of one’s authentic inner self. This disclosure might manifest itself in vulgarities of beech, or gestures, or memorable phases of the mind (The James Joyce Center Dublin). Through his stories, Jockey’s readers can glean that for him an epiphany held a greater meaning about one’s self and those around them.

For James Joyce an epiphany was the moment when someone realized a substantial truth about themselves or someone else. It is the moment when an individual gains a critical meaning of something through an influential experience.Joyce did not believe that an epiphany was divine or magical; it was simply a moment in life when someone finally understands something that is distinct and powerful. The epiphany is a natural mental tool contained in all humans that enables our mind to break free of it mental chains into a greater understanding of life. Joyce understood the significant power of the epiphany, and used it to build the characters in his stories.

The epiphany gave his characters and his stories a logical and easy to follow direction. The epiphany is the driving force behind his stories, leading his readers to the lessons he wanted to convey.It signified the finish of a long journey into the discovery of his characters actions and thoughts; it is Jockey’s way of provoking is readers into great thought about what they could discover through his characters plights. Their plights of paralysis and eventual epiphany created a cohesiveness that gave Jockey’s stories undeniable power.

Fortunately, Joyce realized that although, paralysis and epiphany were significant on their own, together they provided him with a formula that created thought provoking, lasting impressions on his audience.The paralysis of his characters nature provided a way for Joyce to pull his readers in to the lives of his characters, which keeps his reader engaged all the way through to the end. The epiphany, on the other hand, gave his readers an understanding of why his characters had reached their final destination. When used together they give a complete picture, which is both an entertaining and enlightening experience that ultimately delivers a moment of discovered understanding.

For his characters, Joyce?s use of paralysis and epiphany gave him the ability to mold and shape their personalities.By using them together he created dynamic, three dimensional, relatable characters, whose lives jump off the page in vivid reality. This gave his characters the power to hold the attention of his readers. By using paralysis and epiphany together in such a creative way, Joyce us ported his characters ability to provoke thoughts and feelings that may have otherwise been lost on his audience. Ultimately, they gave his characters a greater purpose than simple entertainment, enabling them to communicate great wisdom to those following their literary journey.They gave his characters an ultimate goal of being relatable, memorable, and a teacher Of significant lessons. For his readers on the other hand, paralysis and epiphany offered an awakening of the mind.

They gave the reader a gateway to understanding, about not only Jockey’s characters, but also the human species as a whole. They were an avenue, an easy to follow written map to the very depth of human interaction and desire, giving his readers a focused look into the complexities of human nature.Through his characters lives, we learn to look deeper into our own existence and begin to dig for our own paralysis and epiphany.

Jockey’s paralysis and epiphany enlightens his readers to the concept of mental cause and effect, which leads to a greater understanding of life’s dilemmas. Like cause and effect, paralysis and epiphany is a vicious ever-ending circle, since one leads to the other repeatedly. In Jockey’s stories, paralysis is the cause of his characters inability to act and epiphany is the effect of their decisions, decisions that lead them back to paralysis.

When combined together paralysis and epiphany gave Joyce a powerful writing tool, which could invoke great thought and emotion. This enabled Joyce to teach his readers about the real life dangers of allowing life to slip away unlived, and unexplored. His desire was to reach his readers minds and show them the need to break the routine cycle of their meaningless lives.

Through railways and epiphany, Joyce discovered an ingenious way of gathering the elements of fiction into great literary works.His use of paralysis and epiphany gave his stories direction and provided them with a logical plot and structure based in reality. In addition, Joyce used indirect characterization to lead his readers on a journey of folly and destructive fear by chronicling the lives of his despondent characters, and building a theme Of wasted and unprepossessing life, which was far removed from actually living. By allowing his audience to view life through the lens of his characters misfortunes, Joyce signed stories full of irony that were easy to read and understand, while entertaining, enlightening, and engaging his audience’s mind.Jockey’s stories are his personal “soapbox” where he can inform his audience of their misguided lives.

His desire was make his audience understand that paralysis could leave an individual lost, confused, and hopeless. James Jockey’s stories created an unwavering understanding of the disastrous outcome when individuals let their lives drift by without any meaning, never taking action to make change. This is why Joyce epiphanies were never actually meant for his heartache, they were designed for his readers. He used his literary works as a vehicle to reach his reader on an intellectual level.

Through the use paralysis and epiphany, he designed his stories to provide his readers with a significant discovery and understanding of wastefulness. He wanted his readers to walk away from his stories educated by what they had experienced through his character tribulations, and he carefully designed his literary works with the hope of shocking people out of their daily mindless meanderings, into actions that would better their existence. His goal was to change the lives of those ho truly wanted to understand the lessons his character where designed to teach.Even today, the journeys and lessons James Joyce leads his audience through have great significance. Then, now, and always, Jockey’s epiphanies will inform and teach his readers to be aware of their actions and their desires. They will continue to give generation after generation a better understanding of where life can lead us if we are not careful of our own “living dead” attitudes.

They are timeless lessons about human nature and the dangers of paralysis in life. His epiphanies will always lead those who pen their minds to an understanding what can happen if we allow our existence to be mindless and meaningless.

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