In many different societies
In many different societies, the presence of alcohol has become a great influence on people. Alcohol is prominent worldwide as it can be used for happy or sad occasions. The appearance of alcohol is evident in the book, Dubliners, by James Joyce. In the book, various stories revolve around the presence of alcohol which have affected their decisions. Through the three stories, “A Little Cloud”, “Counterparts”, and “Grace”, alcohol is portrayed in each story as a way to escape reality for a short amount of time and think about their own lives so far.
The first story, “A Little Cloud”, introduces a character named Little Chandler who eagerly waits to meet with a longtime friend, Ignatius Gallaher. They decide to drink to catch up as Gallaher has moved to London eight years ago to start his career in writing. As they talk, the alcohol eventually starts to take a toll on Little Chandler. As he hears more about Gallaher’s success, he starts to feel depressed and jealous. Little Chandler feels this way because he decided to leave his love for poetry to settle down and get married early. Due to the effects of alcohol, Little Chandler has become envious of his friend rather than being happy for him. Negative thoughts have showed up in his mind as he is even displeased with the way he talks. Soon, a conversation about family comes up and Little Chandler asks Gallaher if he would like to have a family someday. Gallaher refuses as he wouldn’t be able to do pursue his dream if he did what Little Chandler did. As Little Chandler heads home, he is still drunk with bad thoughts about his decisions in life. Alcohol has made him think of the wrong things as he doesn’t see the good side of this. He has found himself a nice wife and together they have a child living a peaceful life. Because he was busy thinking however, his wife ends up scolding him for making their child cry. Alcohol in this case, has made Little Chandler remorseful as he now thinks about the life he could have had if he decided to follow Gallaher’s way. He blames himself for getting married thinking that it wasn’t worth it as he compares to his friend who he thinks has a much better life.
Another example tells about Farrington, a copy clerk in the story, “Counterparts”, experiencing an unhealthy obsession of alcohol in order to escape reality. Farrington doesn’t enjoy his job as he tries to abuse his lunch breaks by heading to a bar to drink alcohol. Not being able to copy a document at the time, his boss scolds him and angers Farrington. Farrington wasn’t able to focus on his work and as a result he sneaks out to a nearby bar to drink. He later continues to ignore his responsibilities with only drinking on his mind. One of the main reasons Farrington drinks is to run away from his problems as he lives a boring lifestyle. Copying documents angers him because he is doing the same things over and over again with his boss demanding a lot from him. He eventually insults a client and is forced to apologize, but instead leaves work to drink once again. Farrington would go to such lengths in order to buy alcohol as he pawns off his watch to get money. Alcohol really affects him at this point as he starts boasting to his friends about how he managed to make fun of his boss. He spends a lot of his money as they go different bars making him more frustrated. This repetitive tradition of paying drinks to a man named Weathers takes advantage of him and tries to relieve his stress by flirting with a woman which ultimately fails. Farrington in the end tries to take on Weathers in arm wrestling, but also loses. As a result of these losses, Farrington has had enough and decides to beat his son.
The last story where alcohol was involved was in, “Grace.” The story starts off where the main character, Tom Kernan, has fallen down stairs in a pub, suggesting that he had been drinking. A friend, Mr. Power, helps him and brings him home. Mr. Kernan is described as a commercial traveller who dresses old-fashioned that has been declining in success. He had been drinking with friends, but had abandoned him. The events that happened in the pub could reflect Mr. Kernan’s life as he has fallen from social standing and people have left him as his life is a disaster. This downfall of his life has affected his family’s as well as Mr. Power points out the difference in Mr. Kernan’s children on their accents. Tom Kernan uses alcohol as a way to cope with his social decline hoping to feel better. However, he ends up getting hurt emotionally and physically as he falls down the stairs injuring himself not receiving help from his friends that accompanied him. Fortunately, Mr. Power and his other friends try to help him recover from this slump that he’s been having.
In each of these stories, alcohol has really influenced not just the main character, but the people around them as well. In the case of Little Chandler, alcohol has made him compare himself to others. Because of this, he starts to think about the negativities in his life and how getting married has affected him. He affects his family as he makes his baby cry while he was thinking about the past and not focusing on the present. He starts to reflect on his actions on what could have been if he decided not to marry and did what his friend, Ignatius Gallaher, did. Alcohol made Little Chandler more emotionally weak as he hears about Gallaher’s success. On the other hand, Farrington uses alcohol as a way to escape reality as he builds up anger. With alcohol constantly on his mind, he forgets about his tasks affecting his work. This addiction of drinking not only affects his work, but also his family as in the end Farrington beats his own son. Farrington spent a lot of money on drinks when he could have saved it for his family. In the case of Tom Kernan, he uses alcohol as a way to cope with his declining status. Tom Kernan is similar to Farrington in that they want to escape reality, but Farrington deals with it in a more aggressive way while Tom Kernan has a more somber process. Tom Kernan has help from others while Farrington has to deal with this himself. Out of the three stories, Farrington’s actions were the worst because of alcohol. His mind was not working properly which led to the loss of more money and status in society.
To conclude, alcohol plays a big role in the book, Dubliners, in order to escape reality and reflect on past actions. James Joyce utilizes alcohol as a primary factor in the stories, “A Little Cloud”, “Counterparts”, and “Grace” as a way to the influence alcohol has on a character’s life. Alcohol has affected their minds being unable to make the right decisions. Alcohol was used to help get away from their problems in life, but instead created more problems in the end.