James Joyce

“The Sisters”

Summary “The Sisters”

This story opens with an image of a Dubliner gazing through a window and reflecting on a dilemma. Such a symbol appears throughout the collection, and here it is particularly important because it draws attention to the narrative point of view. “The Sisters” is the first of three stories in the collection told in first-person point of view. As in the other two stories, “An Encounter” and “Araby,” the narrator never divulges his name and rarely participates in the conversations. The opening image of the window in the first paragraph reinforces this sense of quiet, detached observation, which the narrators of the later stories adopt. Through this narrative technique Joyce suggests that even first-hand experience is in some ways voyeuristic, and that it’s possible for a person to observe his or her own life from the outside.