Research Article

Dubliners: Different Short Stories with One Place and a Pervading Theme


  • Hisham Muhamad Ismail Assistant Professor of English Literature, Faculty of Language Studies, Arab Open University, Bahrain


The city's image acquired special prominence in many literary works related to modernist literature. In these works, the writers used the city details simultaneously to serve as symbols and references to the themes and issues that can appear in the works. This fact is especially actual in the case of James Joyce's Dublin - the permanent setting of most works by this great Irish modernist. It is worth noting that Joyce took the steps forward to discuss his city with the bright and dark sides. Dubliners, the collection of short stories, belonged to this type of modernist literature focused on the city. James Joyce wrote this collection in the early period of his writing career, and its title highlighted the significance of Dublin – as a city and its people. In each story of the collection, the capital of Ireland was not a mere setting but a unifying factor to portray a complete and comprehensive image of the collection. In every story, Joyce presented a single issue or a merged collection of obstacles found in Dublin and affected the people. In general, Joyce represented the capital city as the center of paralysis, affecting its citizens despite their age. This paper examined the prominence and symbolic meaning of the city in the text. Joyce demonstrated detailed descriptions while mapping his city. For instance, the writer presented the characters while meandering around Dublin's different types of streets. These incidents offered symbolic importance that the people of Dublin moved in circular routs in vain attempts to break the different layers of circles imposed over them at that time. Implicitly, this reference demonstrated the inability of the people of Dublin (the Dubliners) to escape the physical, cultural, political, and religious paralysis. Joyce's portrayal of paralysis in his collection mirrored the entire country of Ireland's broader social and political context during that time. Ireland was undergoing significant changes, yet it seemed imprisoned in inertia and stagnation. The characters and their stories served as microcosms to reflect the broader and extensive social condition, highlighting the challenges faced by the Irish people in breaking free from the paralysis that held them back without tangible outcomes.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

7 (1)





How to Cite

Ismail, H. M. (2024). Dubliners: Different Short Stories with One Place and a Pervading Theme. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 7(1), 75–84.



Dubline, Religious domination, Epiphany, Paralysis, Modernism