The Paralysis of Little Chandler and Farrington in James Joyce's 'The Dubliners'

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‘Dubliners’ by James Joyce is a collection of fifteen short stories published in 1914 that all show a sense of paralysis of a character in varying ways. To be specific, Little Chandler from ‘A Little Cloud’ and Farington from ‘Counterparts’ both portray a sense of paralysis that are similar to one another as well as quite distinctive. They are similar because they both don't find fulfillment in life and decide to channel their feelings using various methods. On the other hand, they are different because Little Chandler feels like the younger version of Farrington yet Little Chandler feels more deeply rooted in paralysis than Farington. Through these similar actions in the stories, two different quite unique states of paralysis are created between the two characters.

First and foremost, they are similar because they both don't find fulfillment in life and decide to channel their feelings using various methods. They both somewhat regret their current living situations and have different jobs. Also, whenever they both meet their friends in a bar or restaurant, the story begins to pick up the pace and gets a little rowdy. They both direct their frustrations at their children through self-loathing and there is a general pattern. In terms of paralysis, these two quotes from the stories demonstrate that both characters experience this paralysis. In A Little Cloud, Joyce writes:

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He watched the scene and thought of life; and (as always happened when he thought of life) he became sad. A gentle melancholy took possession of him. He felt how useless it was to struggle against fortune, this being the burden of wisdom which the ages had bequeathed to him.

Every time Little Chandler thinks about life, it makes him depressed, and in a frozen state. Similarly, in Counterparts, Joyce writes:

A spasm of rage gripped his throat for a few moments and then passed, leaving after it a sharp sensation of thirst. The man recognized the sensation and felt that he must have a good night's drinking.

They both express helplessness in their respective situations. Joyce creates these helpless situations that make the character feel that there exists an outside force that is affecting their life and they cannot even take control. Both characters are very unsatisfied with their jobs and seem to escape their problems by drinking with their friends. Also, they both get more deeply rooted in paralysis when they compare their life to their friends’ lives.

In contrast, their paralysis differs from one another because Little Chandler feels like the younger version of Farrington as his child is a little younger, yet Little Chandler feels more deeply rooted in paralysis. Farington seems physically bigger and far more easily angered whilst Little Chandler is quite timid and has little to no confidence. The paralysis described that Farrington feels is a little bit different than Little Chandler’s. Farrington seems to be a little more violent whereas, for Little Chandler, it was him that was a little bit more solemn. In relation to women and their wives, Little Chandler finds flaws in his wife when he hears his friend talking about all these exotic women and he blames her for all of his shortcomings. For Farington, it is less about his wife and more about how getting rejected by the women at the bar fuels his anger, as he turns to alcoholism to solve his problems. Both of these different reactions put them in separate states of paralysis which further separates them. When entering the state of paralysis, Little Chandler becomes more frozen and sad whilst Farington becomes more active and angrier. This feeling of being less in control of his actions the Little Chandler has over Faringinton, makes the reader feel that he is far more deeply rooted in paralysis than Farington, as he can take action.

To sum it all up, Little Chandler from ‘A Little Cloud’ and Farington from ‘Counterparts’ both portray a sense of paralysis that are similar to one another as well as quite distinctive. They are similar because they both don't find fulfillment in life and decide to channel their feelings using different methods. On the other hand, they are different because Little Chandler feels like the younger version of Farrington yet Little Chandler feels more deeply rooted in paralysis than Farington. Through these similar actions in the stories, two different quite unique states of paralysis are created between the two characters.

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The Paralysis of Little Chandler and Farrington in James Joyce’s ‘The Dubliners’. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-paralysis-of-little-chandler-and-farrington-in-james-joyces-the-dubliners/
“The Paralysis of Little Chandler and Farrington in James Joyce’s ‘The Dubliners’.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-paralysis-of-little-chandler-and-farrington-in-james-joyces-the-dubliners/
The Paralysis of Little Chandler and Farrington in James Joyce’s ‘The Dubliners’. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-paralysis-of-little-chandler-and-farrington-in-james-joyces-the-dubliners/> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
The Paralysis of Little Chandler and Farrington in James Joyce’s ‘The Dubliners’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-paralysis-of-little-chandler-and-farrington-in-james-joyces-the-dubliners/
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