The Motif of Deadly Repetition in Dubliners by James Joyce

In James Joyce’s Dubliners, the theme of paralysis is presented throughout the motif of “deadly repetition” exhibited in both stories Clay and Eveline. Maria and Eveline are from two different stories, and yet are both stuck in the cycle of deadly repetition. The two women, both go through life like “walking dead” alive, yet not truly living due to the humdrum of their daily lives. The deadly repetition inhibits both of their personal lives. If they are constantly stuck in their repetitive routines, they are not progressing therefore, ultimately leading to a state of paralysis.

Generally speaking, both Eveline and Maria’s lives work like a never ending cycle, day in and day out is the same routine. Maria lives the uneventful life of a kitchen maid in a laundry. One can infer that she does not get out much by the way she speaks of being independent, the counteracts it by scurrying through large crowds.

After all, going to the annual Halloween party is one of the few deviations for Maria’s routine.

Maria attempts to comfort herself, “She arranged in her mind all she was going to do and thought how much better it was to be independent and to have your own money in your pocket…She got out of the tram at the Pillar and ferreted her way quickly among the crowds”(98). She contradicts her self by claiming how she enjoys being independent yet shy’s away from people and scramble’s through crowds. If Maria was stepping outside of the laundry more often, she most likely would not “ferret” among the crowd.

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Pursuing this further, Eveline’s drab life is rather debilitating, verbal attacks from her father were a weekly occurrence, and his alcoholic tendencies were also persistent. Her fathers verbal abuse became draining, “Besides, the invariable squabble for money on Saturday nights had begun to weary her unspeakably”(31). The petty quarrels over money were a constant in Eveline’s life, as well as her fathers drinking habit, “ He said she used to squander the money that she had no head, that he wasn’t going to give his hard earned money about the streets and much more, for he was usually fairly bad of a Saturday night”(31).

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The Motif of Deadly Repetition in Dubliners by James Joyce. (2022, Jul 01). Retrieved from

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