“The Sisters” narrator
- The reserved and contemplative boy who deals with
the death of his friend, Father Flynn. The narrator avoids showing
outward emotions to his family members, but he devotes his thoughts
to the priest’s memory. Others in the story see the narrator’s relationship
with the priest as inappropriate and exploitative, and the narrator
himself seems unsure of what the priest meant to him.
priest who dies in “The Sisters.” Father Flynn’s ambiguous presence
in the story as a potential child molester initiates a book-long
critique of religious leaders, consistently portraying them as incompetent.
family friend in “The Sisters” who informs the narrator of Father
Flynn’s death. Old Cotter voices concern about the priest’s intentions
with the narrator, but he avoids making any direct statements.
“An Encounter” narrator
- The young boy who endures an awkward conversation
with a perverted old man while skipping school. Bored with the drudgery
of lessons, the narrator dreams of escape. When imaginary games fail
to fulfill his yearning for adventure, he embarks on a real one
with his friend Mahony by skipping school and spending the day in
Dublin, only to encounter fear.
narrator’s companion in “An Encounter.” When Mahony and the narrator
rest in a field, a strange old man approaches them. At one point
Mahony runs aw
ay after a cat, leaving the narrator
and the old man alone.
- The amorous boy who devotes himself to his neighbor
Mangan’s sister. Images and thoughts of the girl subsume the narrator’s
days, but when he finally speaks to her it is brief and awkward.
When Mangan’s sister tells the narrator about a bazaar called Araby,
the narrator decides to go there and buy something for her. However,
he arrives at the bazaar too late and buys nothing. The narrator
illustrates the joys and frustrations of young love. His inability
to pursue his desires angers him.
in-depth analysis of “Araby” narrator.
- The love interest in “Araby.” Mangan’s sister mentions
the Araby bazaar to the narrator, prompting him to travel there.
She suggests the familiarity of Dublin, as well as the hope of love
and the exotic appeal of new places.
protagonist of the story that shares her name. Eveline makes a bold
and exciting decision to elope to Argentina with her lover, Frank,
but ultimately shrinks away from it, excluding herself from love.
Her constant review of the pros and cons of her decision demonstrates
her willingness to please everyone but herself, and her final resolve
to stay in Dublin with her family casts her as a woman trapped in
domestic and familiar duties and afraid to embrace the unpredictable.
“After the Race”
upwardly mobile protagonist of “After the Race.” Infatuated with
the prestige of his friends and giddy about his inclusion in such
high-society circles, Jimmy conducts a life of facile whims and
half of the pair of swindlers in “Two Gallants.” Lenehan exudes
energy and exhaustion at once. He excitedly partakes in the exploits
of his friend Corley but also laments the aimlessness of his hard
living and lack of stability. Though he yearns to settle down, he remains
fixed to Corley’s side as the stereotypical sidekick.
scheming friend of Lenehan in “Two Gallants.” Corley’s bulky, assertive
physical presence matches his grandiose bragging and incessant self-promotion.
A police informant and skilled in taking advantage of women, Corley
provides one of the most critical and unsympathetic portraits of
betrayal in Dubliners
when he dupes the housemaid
into giving him a gold coin.
“The Boarding House”
proprietor and mother from “The Boarding House.” Separated from
her husband and the owner of a business, Mrs. Mooney firmly governs
her own life, as well as her daughter Polly’s. Her apparently successful
plan to secure her daughter in a comfortable marriage makes her
a morally ambiguous character. She demands equal treatment for men
and women but also manipulates relationships to rid herself of her daughter.
lover of Mrs. Mooney’s daughter Polly in “The Boarding House.” A
successful clerk, Mr. Doran fears his affair with the unpolished
daughter will tarnish his reputation and bemoans the restraints
of marriage, but he resolves to marry her out of social necessity
“A Little Cloud”
Chandler’s old friend who visits Dublin in “A Little Cloud.” For
Little Chandler, Gallaher represents all that is enticing and desirable:
success in England, a writing career, foreign travel, and laid-back
ease with women. His gruff manners and forthright behavior contrast
with Little Chandler’s delicacy.
- The unhappy and fastidious clerk who reunites with
his friend Gallaher in “A Little Cloud.” Little Chandler’s physical
attributes match his name—he is small, fragile, and delicately groomed.
His tendency to suppress his poetic desires suggests that he also
earns his title by living quietly and without passion. He fleetingly
rebels against his domestic life after hearing about Gallaher’s
exciting life, then shamefully re-embraces it.
burly and aggressive copy clerk and protagonist in “Counterparts.”
With his wine-red face and fuming temper, Farrington moves through
Dublin as a time bomb of rage. Farrington’s job dooms him to unthinkingly
repeat his actions, and he transfers his frustrations from one experience
to the next without discernment. His outlets in life are drinking
and fighting, a physical engagement with the world that typifies
his lack of care and thought. Farrington’s son is one victim of
boss in “Counterparts.” Exasperated by Farrington’s poor work, Mr.
Alleyne yells at and insults Farrington until Farrington embarrasses
him in front of the office staff. He serves mainly to exacerbate Farrington’s
frustrations and fuel his anger.
quiet and prim maid and protagonist from “Clay” who goes to visit
Joe Donnelly, the man she nursed when he was a boy. Maria is precise
and dedicated to detail. She moves through most of the narrative
with content satisfaction and laughter. Her happiness, however,
faces challenges in the smallest of events, and her disproportionate
reactions to small troubles suggest a remote detachment from life.
man Maria visits in “Clay.” Joe’s brief appearance in the story
provides a backdrop for Maria’s own concerns. Like her, he worries
about mundane details, but he also hides a deeper wound that the
story does not articulate. He therefore serves as a sad figure of
“A Painful Case”
solitary and obsessive man who eschews intimacy with Mrs. Sinico
in “A Painful Case.” Disdainful of excess and tightly self-regulated,
Mr. Duffy lives according to mundane routine, and when a relationship
evolves beyond his comfort level, he squelches it. His remorse over
Mrs. Sinico’s death makes him realize that his pursuit of order
and control has led only to loneliness. He is one of the most tragic protagonists
Duffy’s companion in “A Painful Case.” After being shunned by him,
Mrs. Sinico becomes an alcoholic and dies when she is hit by a train.
She once grasped Mr. Duffy’s hand and held it to her cheek, and this
small, affectionate gesture led to the end of their relationship.
in the Committee Room”
of the political workers from “Ivy Day in the Committee Room.” Quiet
and reserved, O’Connor paces the men’s conversation by tempering
conflict and praise about the dead politician Parnell, but he shows little
interest in his own political work.
the poem about Parnell in “Ivy Day in the Committee Room.” Some
of the men are hesitant about his presence in the room because Hynes
is critical of the candidate for whom they work, but Hynes never wavers
in his statements or views.
equivocating political promoter from “Ivy Day in the Committee Room.”
Henchy suspects everyone of betrayal. He suspects his boss of shirking
the men out of beer and paychecks, and he suspects Hynes of informing
the opposing candidate. However, he is the most equivocal figure
in the story and constantly changes his own views to suit the context.
commanding protagonist of “A Mother.” One of the four female protagonists
, Mrs. Kearney is ambitious but also
haughty. She orchestrates her daughter’s upbringing as an exemplary
proponent of Irish culture and poise, but she has trouble dealing with
Dubliners of different backgrounds and any challenges to her authority.
befuddled secretary who organizes the musical concerts in “A Mother.”
Mr. Holohan is the subject of Mrs. Kearney’s abuse, and though he
remains quiet throughout the story, he is the only character who resists
and counters her critiques.
out-of-luck businessman of “Grace.” After a nasty, drunken fall,
Kernan joins his friends in an attempt to reform his life. He remains
silent about his accident, never questioning the men who were his companions
that night. His accepting attitude leads him to go along with his
friends’ plan to attend a Catholic retreat, but he never makes an
friend in “Grace.” Power rescues Kernan after his accident and suggests
the Catholic retreat. Mr. Power’s dedication to Kernan appears shallow
despite his efforts to reform the man, as he is acutely aware of Kernan’s
dwindling social status in comparison to his own burgeoning career.
protagonist from “The Dead.” A university-educated teacher and writer,
Gabriel struggles with simple social situations and conversations,
and straightforward questions catch him off guard. He feels out
of place due to his highbrow literary endeavors. His aunts, Julia
and Kate Morkan, turn to him to perform the traditionally male activities
of carving the goose and delivering a speech at their annual celebration. Gabriel
represents a force of control in the story, but his wife Gretta’s
fond and sad recollections of a former devoted lover make him realize
he has little grasp on his life and that his marriage lacks true
wife in “The Dead.” Gretta plays a relatively minor role for most
of the story, until the conclusion where she is the focus of Gabriel’s
thoughts and actions. She appears mournful and distant when a special
song is sung at the party, and she later plunges into despair when
she tells Gabriel the story of her childhood love, Michael Furey.
Her pure intentions and loyalty to this boy unnerve Gabriel and
generate his despairing thoughts about life and death.
housemaid to the Morkan sisters who rebukes Gabriel in “The Dead.”
nationalist woman who teases Gabriel during a dance in “The Dead.”
of the aging sisters who throw an annual dance party in “The Dead.”
Julia has a grey and sullen appearance that combines with her remote,
wandering behavior to make her a figure sapped of life.
of the aging sisters who throw an annual dance party in “The Dead.”
Kate is vivacious but constantly worries about her sister, Julia,
and the happiness of the guests.
Conroy’s childhood love in “The Dead” who died for her long ago.