Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis examines James Joyce's cycle of short stories entitled Dubliners. I have centered my analysis of the stories on character and, in particular, on the several protagonists set before us. The thesis' objective is to demonstrate the prime importance of the protagonist's imagination in relation to his\her ability to perceive and respond positively to an epiphany when it occurs. I have attempted to show the delicate relationship between the central characters' imaginative capabilities and the frequently destructive external conditions of their lives.
In the Introduction to the thesis I define, and demonstrate the connections between, the terms which are most important to this study. They are 'imagination,' 'vision,' 'empathy,' 'sympathy,' 'illusion,' and 'delusion.' The thesis is divided into four chapters which follow Joyce's patterning for the gradual maturation of the central characters. The thesis also attempts to show a movement from the young and hopeful imaginations of the earlier stories, through a steady lessening of the characters' powers of imagination and a descent into illusion and delusion, until "The Dead" offers a positive example of the visionary potential of the imagination.
It is my hope that this thesis will occasion a reevaluation of the central importance of character to Dubliners and that it will create a heightened awareness that, above all else, Joyce valued the individual's powers of imagination and vision.
Coleman, Grant Bernard, "Imagination, Illusion and Vision in James Joyce's Dubliners" (2012). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6951.
McMaster University Library