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narrative style and character in james joyces clay

Narrative Style and Character in James Joyce's "Clay" For many readers, one of the most appealing factors within literature is often the dynamic representation of character. The idiosyncrasies and appearance of characters are often depicted in great depth and presented with a particular bias in mind. The brief format of the short story does not allow for great lengths of detail to be included therefore, alternate writing styles are used. James Joyce adopts the free and indirect narrative technique to present the story of Maria the suppressive spinster in his short story "Clay." This particular approach influences the reader to sympathize with Joyce's flawed character, while ironically pointing out the particular flaws and directing them towards Irish society. Dubliners is a collection of short stories by James Joyce in which the author utilizes the everyday experiences and rituals of the Irish middle and lower class to publicize his disdain with the Irish society and the political views adopted by the Irish people at the time. "Clay" is no exception to this format. The Character Maria is described as having witch-like physical features but with maternal and domestic virtues. The irony represented here is that while Maria is so purely maternal, she remains a spinster. Joyce provides the reader with a little more insight into the thoughts of Maria through her expressions of sexual frustration. Ginger Mooney's toast to Maria receiving a ring this Halloween reveals a repressed desire for a man "Maria had to laugh and say she didn't want any ring or any man either; and when she laughed her greygreen eyes sparkled with disappointment" (pp181) The disappointment in her eyes suggests that she is emerged in a lifestyle in which she is not particularly happy-a sexual paralysis. The reader is presented with a second example of Maria's uncomfortable state of emotion, regarding her marital status, in the cake store. Maria blushes an...

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