The North Wall as a Passage to Freedom

This week I explored James Joyce’s collection of short stories titled “Dubliners.” In my past few diary entries, I have discussed the theme of past and present in regards to Irish culture. The story from the collection that I thought most embodied the complicated relationship of time was “Eveline.” Joyce depicts her existence as being one of the struggles and abuse in which she is always reaching for something better for her future but ultimately allows experiences of her past to inhibit her escape.

I chose the picture of Dublin’s North Wall because it exemplifies the sense of mystery and possibility in the story. Additionally, the foggy weather of the picture reminded me of Eveline’s sort of foggy mind while she tries to make the decision to leave. From this point of view, as the river curves in the distance, it creates the illusion that the river ends. The buildings in the distance create almost appear as if they are come together to create a wall that encloses the city. While there is a possibility of travel through the river, the picture makes it seem that the travel is limited to the far wall. I believe this picture is a good representation of Joyce’s writing style in which his stories traditionally end in a character having an epiphytic realization about the dreariness of existence.

In one of my past entries, I discussed the concept of spiraling temporality. Rather than life ending and the soul reaching the afterlife, life is said to be ever repeating. I believe that by the end of the story Eveline believed that there was no escape from her past and chose to remain in oppression. Perhaps Jocye is expressing the inability to erase the past, but also the need to embrace it and build with it in order to progress to a future stage of growth.

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