IRISH YOUTH AND INERTIA IN JAMES JOYCE?S DUBLINERS

Abstract

Author(s): Erdin├ž DURMU?, Mehmet Recep TA?

James Joyce who was born in 1882 in Dublin, the capital city of Ireland that had been colonized by England from the middle of the 17th century to the first quarter of the 20th century, published his first novel Dubliners in 1914. The novel is likely to be considered as a bildungsroman of Ireland’s society since it focuses on the growth of the whole community rather than the focus on the psychological and moral growth of only one protagonist. Composed of four stages each of which narrates a different stage of the society (namely; childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life)the novel is consisted of fifteen stories. The setting of all the stories is the city of Dublin where (as Joyce narrates) paralyses, stagnancy and inertia seem to have haunted the lives of the public. Inertia, in Merriam Webster, is defined as the lack of movement or activity especially when movement or activity is wanted or needed. In the field of physics, it is defined as “a property of matter by which something that is not moving remains still and something that is moving goes at the same speed and in the same direction until another thing or force affects it.” Inertia is also known to be the feeling of the lack of the energy that helps mobilization, which makes the change in situations where motion, action and change are necessary. Considering the fact that every single molecule across the universe is on the move, what is being implied here is not that the substance stands still; rather, it is the fact that its perpetuum mobile or momentum is preserved in a constant pace. People are usually aware of the problems stemming from the negative cases in which they are entrapped. However, despite the fact that they – more or less – have the knowledge concerning how to resolve these problems, they are not enthusiastic to take any action. They find themselves in a constantly negative situation that prevents them from taking the first step, or in a state of mind that helps the momentum keep on going in a constant pace. Inertia, in other words, may as well be defined as the state of not being able to take the necessary action at the right time and in the right space. Against such a backdrop and drawing on the two stories all characters of which are adolescents, this article aims to reveal how destructive the state of inertia could be for those individuals and societies who do not handle their necessities in the right place at the right time.

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