Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Marilynn Richtarik

Second Advisor

Paul Schmidt

Third Advisor

Tanya Caldwell


My thesis examines Dubliners through the lens of Rene Descartes’s mind-body dualism to explain the relationship between contrasting themes in the text and demonstrate how they are connected. In an explication of the three words introduced by Joyce in the introductory paragraph of the first story in his collection, namely paralysis, gnomon, and simony, linking them with their more subtle but equally significant antonymic themes, which I propose are progression, epiphany, and grace, I show that Joyce was as compassionate as he was contemptuous of his countrymen. I propose that recognizing this balance helps us better understand what Joyce may have meant by making no apology for the brute-like spectacle he projects in his nicely polished looking-glass. Moreover, I argue that Dubliners serves as a fictional canvas upon which Joyce projects his dream of an Ireland that can transcend the tedium-inducing confines of its past.