A Paper on Reoccurring Themes in Dubliners and Grace

“Grace” begins with a fall down the stairs for our main character Mr. Kernan. The unconscious and drunken Mr. Kernan is carried up the stairs and laid out on the bar floor. The manager of the bar repeatedly asks who the man is and who he was with, but to no avail. A constable is called in to try to solve the problem, when Mr. Powers enters and solves the mystery and proceeds to escort Mr. Kernan home. Upon arriving at the home of his friend, Mr.

Powers learns that Mr. Kernan had been on a drinking binge much to the chagrin of his wife. It is obvious that she is very upset with her husband and his choice of drinking acquaintances. Mr. Powers explain that he is not responsible for the condition of her husband and suggest that he will try to arrange for an intervention for her husband. Mrs. Kernan thanks Mr. Powers for bringing her husband home and for being a true friend.

The story now turns to a reoccurring theme in Joyce’s stories, the unfortunate tale of a woman who thinks that marriage could be the answer to her problems. We learn that after only three weeks she finds marriage tedious and then learns that she is pregnant.

Unlike Mrs. Mooney in “The Boarding House”, Mrs. Kernan decides that even though her husband is a drunk he is not so bad because he’s not violent anymore and he will fetch groceries when asked. Mr. Powers keeps his word to Mrs.

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Kernan and has arranged for a morally minded group of friends and associates of Mr. Kernan’s to speak with him. Mr. Cunningham a well-respected and educated man, deals with a wife that is an alcoholic and sympathizes with Mrs. Kernan and her situation. The group of men that have assembled expect to convince Mr. Kernan to go to a retreat with them and hopefully end his drinking. They begin the visit by joking with Mr. Kernan about his accident then steadily work the conversation into religion before slyly convincing Mr. Kernan to attend the retreat with them. It seems as though Mr. Kernan really wants to fit in with these men whom he has respect for so he attempts (not very successfully) to join in the intense discussion of religion. Mr. Fogerty the grocer joins the men at Mr. Kernans bedside and brings with him a gift of whiskey. I find it curious that the goal of this meeting is to end Mr. Kernans drinking but whiskey is brought as a gift.

The dialogue about the church and religion is almost humorous to me because it goes round and round about what is right and who is good and which people are acceptable. After a long discussion and some careful trickery the men succeed in convincing Mr. Kernan to attend the retreat The retreat is curiously billed as a sermon for businessmen. Father Purdon interprets the scripture as a business proposal to coax men to correct their lives and set right their “accounts” with God. The question is will this straightforward sermon change Mr. Kernan’s habits? I do not believe that the retreat will affect Mr. Kernans drinking habits. There are several reoccurring themes in “Dubliners” that appear in “Grace” such as: pious people trying to change the habits of others, the Irish drunk that is beyond help or rehabilitation, the despair of the people of Dublin, and the woman trapped in a dysfunctional relationship.

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A Paper on Reoccurring Themes in Dubliners and Grace. (2022, Jul 01). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-paper-on-reoccurring-themes-in-dubliners-and-grace/

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