The treatment of family life and relationships in the works of James Joyce from Dubliners to Ulysses
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Joyce's treatment of family life and relationships reveals both a continuing concern with many of the same themes and a distinctive development from Dubliners to Ulysses. Throughout the works he is concerned with such matters as the nature of blood links, the tension between the needs of the individual and the needs of the family, and the quality of human affection, filial, parental, and sexual. While the early works, Dubliners, Stephen Hero, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, present the family as a social institution of some importance, Ulysses shows it to be associated with universal principles of prime importance. Moreover, while the first three works present a largely unfavourable and somewhat restricted view of family life, Exiles and Ulysses develop extensively both the fundamental value of family relationships and the complexities of emotion and motive inherent in them. The early concern with the limitations of family life corresponds to similar concerns in contemporary writers whom Joyce admired, Joyce's declared intentions in writing his own works, and his somewhat unhappy experiences with his own family. The shift to a more favourable and more complex view of family life in the later works corresponds to his evident maturation and to his increased recognition of the value of his own family life. Thus Joyce's treatment of family life and relationships is central to his development as man and artist. While many critics have noted that the family is indeed important in Joyce's works, none has examined the subject systematically or treated many of the matters considered in this thesis.
AuthorsDombrowski, Theo Quayle
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