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Postcolonial Masculinity in Dubliners Taeun MIn This essay examines how Irish men in Dubliners are feminized by the British, how they try to assert their masculinity, and how such efforts are frustrated. The English cherished a long-standing tradition of feminizing Ireland. The colonizer justifies their conquest and domination by reasoning that the masculine English should be the patriarch of the feminine Irish. And the Irish males, oppressed and marginalized by the conqueror, suffer the "feminizing" effect of colonialism. Not surprisingly, masculinity is a continual dilemma in Joyce's Dubliners. It is interesting, however, to find that some Irish males imitate the ideology of their conqueror and act like him in their own house, becoming a cruel patriarch/master. And this implies that gender is a matter of positionality or masquerade. Also, the public house, a male refuge, is a site for the recuperation of many Irish males' masculinity. They drink in order to escape, however temporarily, their colonial subjectification and modernization. But the relationship between Irish nationalism and the temperance movement is more complicated than it seems. Of course, a rivalry between the public house and the home, another space for masculine renewal, is inevitable in Dublin. Nevertheless, all Irish males' desire to prove their masculinity are frustrated, except in the case of one man: Michael Furey in "The Dead," who courageously gives his life for his love/Ireland and makes Gabriel Conroy, patriarch and "West Briton," feel the insecurity about his masculinity.
This study examines how extensive trash is in Joyce's works, how close the relationship between his literature and trash is, and how significant this is in his aesthetics. Probably, Mr. Duffy in “A Painful Case” lives the farthest away from the world of trash. The hidden overripe apple in his desk symbolizes his abhorrence of trash. His orderly and austerely furnished room reflects his monkish habits. On the other hand, rejecting the priesthood, Stephen in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man accepts his vocation as an artist. The bird-girl wading the sea serves his epiphany and the seaweed attached to her leg will appears as trash in Ulysses, as if to suggest that his art would be closely connected with it. Stephen confronts the world of trash while walking along the beach at Sandymount strand in Ulysses. The beach is a place of deposition, heavy with waste. Stephen compares sands with language; the objects scattered there are the signs to be read. Joyce's art will be about these objects accumulated from the past. It is worth noting that the distinction between “letter” and “litter” collapses here. Joyce writes that his head is full of rubbish, and this connection between waste and mind is illustrated in Finnegans Wake. The mind of Shem, possible avatar of Joyce, is described as the seashore full of flotsam and jetsam. It is interesting to see that the landscape of the artist's mind is similar to the littered shoreline as mentioned above. Further, Shem's literary output is associated with the excrement of his body. The relationship between these two is emphasized when Bloom defecates while reading a story in the jake. Here Bloom's dung is confused or almost identified with the literary work. Joyce can be compared to the writer of the letter in Finnegans Wake who had “to see life foully,” to present life fully no matter how foul it is. He writes in his letter, “the odour of ashpits and old weeds and offal [hang] around” his stories, and this shows his desire to tell the truth as he saw and smelled it.
It is easy to see a number of similarities between Joyce's "Clay" of Dubliners and the "Nausicaa" chapter of Ulysses. Both narrators identify with the female protagonist and both texts allow their desires to be expressed. Further, Maria of "Clay" and Gerty of "Nausicaa" want to be seen as "feminine." Based on the question of what made them have similar desires, this study explores the interrelationship of gender, language, and society. Maria wishes to be seen both as a Virgin Mary figure and a valuable Victorian woman, just as Gerty dreams of herself as an "Angel in the house," a social construct that, according to Virginia Woolf, entrapped Victorian women. As the former tries to reveal herself as "proper mother" to Joe and as a still marriageable woman, so the latter plays the role of Virgin Mary comforting the suffering sinner, Bloom. She also tries to prove she can still attract the attention of men. Although both women smooth over the deficiencies and troubles in their lives, they turn out to be the opposite of what they wish to be. More importantly, their desire is not their own, but society's. They are selfless victims of a male-dominated capitalist society, whose ideological forces formed their desire. Disempowered by a patriarchal culture, Maria imagines that she has been recognized by a powerful gentleman. Gerty is a "defective product" on the sexual market in the patriarchal society of 1904 Dublin. Dominated by advertising images, she is reduced to the passive object of male desire.
This study examines how Mulligan can be Stephen's alter ego in Ulysses, even though he appears to be exactly the opposite and an enemy of Stephen. For example, it is true that Stephen is angered by Mulligan's charge of matricide, but in a sense Mulligan said what Stephen wanted to say but had repressed. Stephen himself feels that he is somehow to blame for his mother's death; that is why he feels the pang of conscience and sees the ghost of his mother repeatedly. Similarly, Mulligan, in Stephen's thought, derides Stephen's fearfulness, and this is another way of saying that Stephen's superego or other self is mocking his own cowardice. Mockery is Mulligan's defining characteristic; he keeps mocking Stephen. However, Mulligan's mocking words echo in Stephen's mind and the former's voice becomes indistinguishable from the latter's voice. Therefore, Mulligan's accusation toward Stephen comes to be Stephen's own accusation toward himself. In their roles, Stephen and Mulligan foreshadow the emergence of Shem and Shaun in Finnegans Wake. It is worth noting that Shem and Shaun are also inseparable Doppelgängers, even if they are enemies. In this connection, it is significant that Stephen's repeated thoughts of Cranly, Mulligan's precursor, in association with Wilde's unspeakable love shows his love for Cranly. Whenever Stephen thinks of Cranly, he remembers Cranly's arm and that of Mulligan, and this part of the body carries a sexual charge. A male friend of man, according to Aristotle, is his alter ego. Interestingly, the inner dialogue in Stephen's mind takes place between Philip Sober and Philip Drunk in the “Circe” episode. Stephen's sober self and drunken self seem to reflect Bloom and Mulligan respectively, thus confirming the possibility that Mulligan can be Stephen's alter ego.