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ENGLISH 522S Narrative Writing

Published : 14-Sep,2021  |  Views : 10

Question:

The following research proposal is based on the psychoanalytic literary criticism and literary device that is referred back to James Joyce’s Dubliners. The characters, narrative style and the situations in the short stories in Dubliners are analysed through the psychoanalytical ideas of Freud’s “On the sexual theories of children”, Fairbairn’s “Psychoanalytic studies of the personality” Klein’s “the psycho-analysis of children”, Lowenstein, R. M., H. Hartmann, and R. Kris. "Notes on the Theory of Aggression" Psychoanalytic Study of the Child”, Zizek’s “Less than nothing: Hegel and the shadow of dialectical materialism” and Margaret Mahler’s "On Human Symbiosis and the Vicissitudes of Individuation”.  

The impact of indirect discourse in the form of narrative technique not only provides an extremely significant dimension to child’s philosophy but also displays its connection to many such psychoanalytical theories which are explored in the 19th and the 20th century. The researcher strictly focuses on the children characters of the short stories and cites examples to create a passage for further possibility of research through the proposal.

Answer:

Introduction

Joyce appeared in the literary scene from the heart of the Trinity College in a time of insurgency, a time when the Irish were urging for their identity (Greenblatt, Stephen, and Christ). Joyce was a lover of drama, a celebrated author and a poetic narrator. His literal romance with his birth place Dublin; the mushy landscapes, blind lanes, apple trees and an all observing narrator is compiled with in a collection named, “Dubliners”. “Dubliners” is a compilation of fifteen short stories (Greenblatt, Stephen, and Christ). Joyce deliberately challenges the moral codes and conducts of a catholic society through the tales of childhood, adolescence and maturity. There is a conscious shift from the world of innocence and adolescence to the world of maturity. The most important aspect of Joyce’s work is the new modernist style of writing that he developed (Lukács). The inherent dependency of style and technique has overpowered or neglected the ideas or emotions of Joyce’s narrative in several occasions (Lukács). And Dubliners is no exception in this matter (Lukács).

Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study is to understand the impact of the literary technique of free indirect discourse in the display of child psychology and behaviour.

Background

In his lifetime, Joyce lived in various parts of Europe as a teacher, as a writer and as a member of literary societies (Benstock). The lion share of his works are though written and published in Zurich, Trieste and Paris (Greenblatt, Stephen, and Christ). However, all these works were set in Dublin. His obsession with Dublin was never matched by anyone in the history of literature.  In the fifteen short stories beginning from “The Sisters” and ending in “The Dead”, Joyce successfully touches down each and every aspect of city life, a life which he could have lived but have sensibly rejected, the life of ‘shabbiness’ and ‘philistinism’ (Greenblatt, Stephen, and Christ). Unlike his masterpiece, Joyce deliberately uses sentences out of narrative necessity and not as a statement. Joyce, who has been criticised by the Marxists as anti realist and celebrated by the symbolist takes a leap to display characters of various inheritance and behaviour through a discourse which is informal and provides a deep insight (Lukács). Dubliners represent a phase when Joyce is still to develop his stream of consciousness technique, but his fixation with the universal insight and consciousness of human mind were predominantly present with in him (Hart). A strong perspective among the researcher and scholars of Joyce’s works believe that a majority of character in his masterpiece, “Ulysses” have their predecessors in “Dubliners” (Benstock). The fleeting moment or ‘epiphany’ of the boy in “Araby “to realise the reality of the world, the unfinished narrative closures or the escape of the school students from their classes in order to watch a pigeon house in “An Encounter”  is narrated with heart and a sense of insight (Benstock). The ethos of the narrative style reflects universality, real life experiences and a psychological insight of every human being. It is notable that Joyce authors the first three stories “The Sister”, “An Encounter” and ““Araby”” as the first person narratives whereas all the other stories remains in the third person (Hart). Dubliners represent three phases of life through stories representing every phase of life, from childhood, adolescence and maturity (Benstock).  Joyce deliberately frames narratives in which his protagonists do not disclose their ideas and feelings rather it gets revealed with the narrative (Hart). This unmasking of protagonists and especially childhood characters through a profound vision is the heart of the short stories (Benstock).

Research Aims and Questions

The research has the following aims as follows:

  • To explore how Joyce has employed free indirect discourse in “Dubliners”
  • To what extent free indirect discourse adds new dimension to child psychology.
  • To investigate whether the narrative style used in Dubliners is different from other Joyce works.

Research Question:

The research questions on which the proposal will be grounded on are as follows:

  • How does Joyce incorporate free indirect discourse with in the short stories of Dubliners?
  • How the narrative style does helps in the display of the psychological insights of the child protagonists in Dubliners?
  • How is the usage of free indirect discourse different from other eminent works of Joyce like Ulysses and The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man?

Discussion

“Dubliners” is counted as the chronicle of the city’s moral existence. This existence in fact originates from the plinth of non-existential shape of human beings. There are primarily two forms of narrative strategies in Dubliners, shifting of narrative ideas and dissolution of plot. In the earlier stories of Dubliners, the plot structure has been conventional in terms of a beginning, conflict, climax and ending. However, this pattern takes extreme twist and turns in the later stories.

No reader would feel free interpreting the thematic concept of the stories in a random manner nor would a reader be bound to stick to a single pipeline of interpretation. The game of perplexity played with words, needs mastery that was rightly possessed by Joyce. In order to understand the psychological inclination that Joyce had towards his words and his mystical representation of the city, one needs to go through all the major works of him. In one of the short stories of Dubliners, “Eveline”, Joyce chooses to utilise ambiguity and identity of the protagonist. He consciously chooses a name for his protagonist, which is considered as a reference to a title character of a nineteenth century pornographic novel or perhaps a deliberate intertextual reference to an old Irish song. These references are intermingled with the backdrop of a strictly catholic family and juxtaposed with her eagerness to flee with his musician lover. Joyce plays the chord of his narratives as a third person narrator, who keeps incorporating new ideas into the minds of his protagonist, he acts like an unconscious to the discourse of his protagonist. In this short story, the adaptive capacities and her ego towards her misbehaving father and her brother has a lot of similarities with Hartmann’s model of psychopathology (Loewenstein, Hartmann and Kris).  If not in “Eveline”, Joyce has also been noticed to have triggered the weapon of psychological imbalance and ambiguity in “Araby”, another masterpiece from Dubliners. Both of the stories have been the most influential pieces for the readers. The smog that covers the entire episode of the depiction of Mangan’s sister in “Araby” creates several options for the readers to interpret the body structure of the girl. The ‘neurotic compromise’ of the adolescent author to attain his relationship with Mangan’s sister is one of the clear psychoanalytic themes of the narrative. Freud describes childhood as the most sensitive stage of sexuality (Freud). The sexual anxieties and the earnestness to earn love in a loveless life, is the sole proponent in the mind of the young narrator (Freud). However, like every child, he achieves failure; he meets reality which is distant from what he thought it to be.

In “The Sisters” Joyce presents the narratives with numerous flashbacks, memories, haunting images, dreams and fear of a child. His quintessential use a child’s fear with the religious ideas like chalice and sin; and ending of the story into a death of a priest suggests his talent of using archetype symbols to describe psychoanalytic insights of a child (Henke). Joyce repeatedly chooses an orphan as his protagonist (both in “Araby” and “the Sisters”). The monotony of a child’s life is accompanied by the trauma and loveless childhood in the narratives (Mahler). Margaret Mahler has incorporated the impacts of traumatic childhood in his theory which the readers experiences in Joyce (Mahler). The modernistic style of writing and the structure of the compilation is quite engaging for the readers (Henke). The compilation begins with “The sisters”, where a child is acquainted to the death of an old priest whereas the compilation ends with a surrealistic display of a dead professor. The idea of death is a predominant theme in these short stories. Joyce ideally reflects the impact of death on a child’s psychology (Mahler).

Another psychoanalyst, Melanie Klein states that tragic end of an infantile fantasy can be traumatic for a child (Klein).  Fairbairn and Winnicott claimed that the detachment with the caregiver can result into psychological disorders in the future of the child (Fairbairn). The exploration of these themes in Dubliners not only presents literal insights and practical feelings of a child, it also makes the readers recall their memories (Henke). Joyce’s style to showcase the internal feelings of a child or adolescent is the primary reason of such depth in the texts.

  Specifically “Dubliners” has its own characteristics traits it brings in the process of thesis and antithesis. Hegelian dialectics is highly permissible in terms of the analysis of the psychological insignia of in the Dubliners (Zizek). The research would try to establish how Dubliners can be used in child and adolescence therapy. Though the main theme of Dubliners has remained paralysis, corruption and death, it significantly surrounds the adolescents- their desire, fear, perplexities, complexities and pathos. Torchianna in his book “Background for Joyce’s Dubliners” has identified some crucial facts that have affected the readers’ mind (Torchiana). These crucial factors are clay, a mother, death, blindness, suicide and unfulfilled desire.

Methodology:

Research methodology refers to the process of the research. It determines the mode of the research, the data collection process, the process of data sampling and analysis and so on.

There are basic three types of research methods:

  • Descriptive research method: To conduct this research it is necessary to study all the major texts of Joyce including, “Dubliners”, “Ulysses” and “A Potrait of of the Artist as a Young Man”.  Along with all the major texts it was important to to understand modernism. The texts on Modernism should be assessed properly from the resources of authentic publishing houses like Oxford, Cambridge, Norton and Routledge.  
  • Exploratory Research Method:  There are a very few researches related to the impact of free indirect discourse on the child psychology. It is necessary to explore the psychoanalytic texts of Freud’s “The Interpretation of Dreams”, Freud’s idea of sexuality and its link with infantile psychology. The multiple levels of Freud’s child psycho-analogy beginning from Oral, Phallic, Anal, Genital, and Latency should be explored. The psychological theories like ‘Object relations theory’ of Klein, the development of ego philosophy of Mahler and Hartmann’s ego psychology should be assessed properly. These ideas should be incorporated in the texts of Joyce find out the results.
  • Hypothesis Test research: The research is is qualitative in style. This hypothesis of the research is provide enough instances and ideas how the free indirect discourse is impactful to the research.  A comparative study between the text “Dubliners” and the psycho-analytical theories will be the primary method in the research.

 Justification of the Method Chosen for the Research:

Since the research is not going to depend on the statistical data, it will follow the hypothesis testing method.

Data Collection Method

Data collection involves two different categories- primary data collection and secondary data collection. Primary data re collected through personal interviews, survey method, where as the secondary data refers to the existing literary and critical works quite closely on the topic. It comprises of the peer reviewed journal articles, the books and government authenticated websites. The data for this research is basically collected from various articles, journals, books and “Dubliners” itself.

Justification of the Chosen Data Collection Method:

The following research will retrieve the secondary data and go through the articles and research papers pertaining to the topic.

The research basically refers to the authentic texts like Norton Anthology, Benstock’s work, Torchiana’s works and essays of Lukács and Clive to explore the texts from the literal and historical context. However, the study also incorporates various psychoanalytic theories of Freud, Zizek, Fairbairn, Klein and Loewenstein to display a psychoanalytical side of children in Dubliners with the help of the indirect narrative approach.

Conclusion

Joyce uses a system of discourse in the short stories of Dubliners which are consequentially different but analytically reflects the psychological crisis a character is going through.  The world of morality, civilization and ethics is different from the internal world of imagination and hope; these two ever existing worlds are pitted against each other in the tales of Dublin. Joyce creates a world in his home town, which not only reflects the context but also becomes timeless in its own right. The narrative style not only presents an insight of a child and his ability to think and imagine but also excavates the fact that there is no escape. The childhood and adolescence is bounded by the strings of the destiny and will be pushed into the world of maturity and death. There is no enlightenment; there is no ascendance in the midst of higher consciousness. The world is brutal, it is like a monster which will destroy a hopeful child and adolescent and a man will be born out of it.

References

Bernard Benstock. Dubliners. Vol. 1884. University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Fairbairn, William Ronald Dodds. Psychoanalytic studies of the personality. Psychology Press, 1994.

Freud, Sigmund. On the sexual theories of children. Read Books Ltd, 2014.

Greenblatt, Stephen, and Carol T. Christ, eds. The Norton anthology of English literature. WW Norton & Company, 2012.

Hart, Clive. James Joyce's Dubliners: critical essays. Viking Adult, 1969.

Henke, Suzette A. James Joyce and the politics of desire . Routledge, 2015

Klein, Melanie. The psycho-analysis of children. Random House, 1997.

Loewenstein, R. M., H. Hartmann, and R. Kris. "Notes on the Theory of Aggression." Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 3 (1949).

Lukács, Georg. "The ideology of modernism." The Novel: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory, 1900–2000 (1955): 394-412.

Mahler, Margaret S. "On Human Symbiosis and the Vicissitudes of Individuation. Infantile Psychosis, Volume 1." (1968).

Torchiana, Donald T. Backgrounds for Joyce's Dubliners . Vol. 8. Routledge, 2015

Zizek, Slavoj. Less than nothing: Hegel and the shadow of dialectical materialism .Verso Books, 2012.

Attridge, Derek, ed. The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce. Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Bernard Benstock. Dubliners. Vol. 1884. University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Cronin, Sean. Irish nationalism: A history of its roots and ideology. Continuum, 1981, 1981.

Ellmann, Richard, and Stanislaus Joyce. "James Joyce." (1960).

Fairbairn, William Ronald Dodds. Psychoanalytic studies of the personality. Psychology Press, 1994.

Fonagy, Peter. "Psychoanalytic theories." Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology (2010).

Freud, Sigmund. On the sexual theories of children. Read Books Ltd, 2014.

Freud, Sigmund. The interpretation of dreams. Read Books Ltd, 2013.

Glenn, Jules, and Melvin A. Scharfman, eds. Child analysis and therapy. Vol. 1. Jason Aronson, 1978.

Greenblatt, Stephen, and Carol T. Christ, eds. The Norton anthology of English literature. WW Norton & Company, 2012.

Hart, Clive. James Joyce's Dubliners: critical essays. Viking Adult, 1969.

Henke, Suzette A. James Joyce and the politics of desire . Routledge, 2015

Klein, Melanie. The psycho-analysis of children. Random House, 1997.

Loewenstein, R. M., H. Hartmann, and R. Kris. "Notes on the Theory of Aggression." Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 3 (1949).

Lukács, Georg. "The ideology of modernism." The Novel: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory, 1900–2000 (1955): 394-412.

Mahler, Margaret S. "On Human Symbiosis and the Vicissitudes of Individuation. Infantile Psychosis, Volume 1." (1968).

Torchiana, Donald T. Backgrounds for Joyce's Dubliners . Vol. 8. Routledge, 2015

Welch, Robert, and Bruce Stewart, eds. The Oxford companion to Irish literature. Oxford University Press, 1996.

Wolman, Benjamin B. International Encyclopedia of Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychoanalysis & Neurology. Acrobat Books, 1977.

Zizek, Slavoj. Less than nothing: Hegel and the shadow of dialectical materialism .Verso Books, 2012.

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