The tone of Dubliners is distant and grim. In describing characters and their worlds as realistically as possible, most of Joyce’s third-person narrators avoid embellishment and exaggeration, and also avoid passing judgment on the characters. Consequently, the task of judgment falls to the reader. “A Little Cloud” provides a good example of how this distant and grim tone works. This story depicts Little Chandler, a man who desires a great deal from life, but who has failed to realize any of his desires. On the one hand, it appears that Little Chandler’s dysfunctional family life has stifled him. Indeed, he responds to his wife’s cruelty and impatience with shame and remorse. On the other hand, Little Chandler himself may be equally if not more responsible for his failures. Over the course of the story, he reflects on the melancholy mood of his life, hoping one day to transform his feelings into great poetry. But the astute reader sees that his thoughts are suitable only for the most sentimental verse. Likewise, Little Chandler’s conversation with Ignatius Gallaher reveals that, despite his desire to travel abroad, his tastes and personality remain extremely provincial.