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Urban life in Dublin: Duality in "Two Gallants"
James Joyce’s “Two Gallants”, from Dubliners, is at first glance the tale of two males driven by greed to manipulate a slavey. Lenehan and Corley get pleasure from their mischievous banter as they stroll by way of Dublin, all the while plotting to deviously gather funds from a woman. When examined closer, “Two Gallants” is Joyce’s commentary on urban life in Dublin, specifically the social paralysis of its inhabitants. In his report “Two Gallants,” A. Walton Litz describes the story as “a cold-blooded assault upon the conditions of Irish society” (Litz 329). The culmination of the story exposes the gold coin, the finish result of Corley’s and Lenehan’s scheme. The coin itself represents the two sides of Corley and Lenehan, guys who live a perpetual adolescent existence in Dublin. Although Litz’s description of the coin as a “true epiphany, a showing forth of a hidden reality” is precise, he fails to probe deeply adequate into the accurate which means of this epiphany (Litz 335). In “Two Gallants” Joyce uses the coin both to symbolize duality inside the primary characters and to demonstrate the men’s spiritual paralysis via their greed.
A lot like the clich?©d “two sides to every coin,” Lenehan and Corley illustrate the duality of their characters all through the story. The males include both unattractive and optimistic qualities in their character. Corley is described as an unemployed, self-absorbed ladies’ man who “spoke without listening to the speech of his companions. His conversation was mostly about himself” (Joyce 51). He incessantly brags to Lenehan that the slavey is wrapped around his finger. Corley tells him, “Cigarettes every single night she’d bring me […] paying the tram out and back. And one particular night she brought me two bloody fine cigars” (Joyce 51). Even Corley’s physical look is unappealing as he is described as having a huge head, “globular and oily it sweated in all weathers” (Joyce 51). Joyce portrays the man in an unpleasant light, producing Corley a disagreeable character.
Even so, Joyce also shows the duality of Corley by such as subtle hints of his moral distinction and conscience. Corley is “the son of the inspector of police and had inherited his father’s frame and gait” (Joyce 51). This description of Corley implies a particular air of stature, conflicting with the thought of Corley as an untrustworthy vagrant. When Corley meets up with Lenehan right after his rendezvous with the slavey, Corley “stared grimly prior to him. Then with a grave gesture he extended a hand towards the light […] A small gold coin shone in the palm” (Joyce 60). Here the ambiguous grim expression could possibly indicate guilt, although practically nothing more than speculation is feasible. Corley’s visage could reveal a slight conscience inside Corley, a second side of him that differs from the challenging mischievousness of his character.
As with Corley, Lenehan is also perceived as an unfavorable individual. Lenehan is noticed as a brown-noser, drifting from a single job to the next. Joyce describes his physicality as “squat and ruddy” and his eyes “twinkling with cunning enjoyment” (Joyce 49). The narrator recognizes that “most folks deemed Lenehan a leech” (Joyce 50). Lenehan continuously quizzes Corley about his capabilities of manipulating the slavey, and when he refers to Corley as a “gay Lothario,” there is a “shade of mockery” that “relieved the servility of his manner” (Joyce 52). From these photos of Lenehan’s persona, he is seen as an unlikable character.
However, like Corley, like the gold coin, there are also two sides to Lenehan. Despite the fact that he is seen as a “leech,” his “adroitness and eloquence had constantly prevented his pals from forming any basic policy against him”. Lenehan is a “sporting vagrant armed with a vast stock of stories, limericks and riddles” (Joyce 50). This revelation of duality in his character illustrates a charming and entertaining side to Lenehan. When he sits to eat his plate of peas, the reader is shown Lenehan’s decent side. He contemplates his life and admits that he is “tired of knocking about, of pulling the devil by the tail, of shifts and intrigues” (Joyce 58-9). Lenehan ponders, “Would he never ever get a very good job? Would he by no means have a residence of his personal?” (Joyce 59). Right here Joyce evokes sympathy for Lenehan by showing the human side of him. And after once again, the duality of this chatracter is expressed most blatantly with the revelation of the gold coin at the story’s conclusion.
The coin in “Two Gallants” also represents the primary characters’ paralytic lives and the greed that dictates their actions. Corley and Lenehan are directionless, aimless males who rather of obtaining steady jobs rely on other individuals to supply advancements. On page 51 of “Two Gallants,” Corley is depicted as “about town. Anytime any job was vacant a friend was usually prepared to give him the hard word.” Corley not only has no job, but relies on his pals to refer him to operate. And rather of directing his efforts towards finding employment, Corley is as an alternative far more concerned with meeting up with the slavey and obtaining the gold coin. Since of his lack of motivation to boost the top quality of his life, Corley is governed by greed. Significantly like the city he lives in, Corley is paralyzed by that greed.
Although Lenehan is the more sympathetic character, he is not with no paralysis of spirit. By way of Lenehan’s stagnant position in life, Joyce shows the duality of his paralysis, and that of Dublin, with the greed that administers this character’s actions. Lenehan is also without having steady employment, and even though he yearns for a more productive life, he lacks the path to do so. Although consuming his peas Lenehan wistfully thinks that “he may well yet be able to settle down in some snug corner and live happily if he could only come across some good easy-minded girl with a small of the ready” (Joyce 58). Right here Lenehan implies he would only be happy with a girl who had wealth and remarks nothing at all of adore in his fantasy relationship. All through the story, he constantly harps to Corley, “Are you confident you can bring it off all right?” (Joyce 53). This illustrates Lenehan’s lack of individual responsibility, as he appears to Corley to supply monetary gain, and is indicative of his covetousness for cash.
Litz’s report, even though valid and insightful, lacks an in-depth look at the symbolism of the gold coin. Considerably like the two sides to every single coin, Joyce gives characters that include duality inside their personae, and offers a criticism of the stationary lives of Corley and Lenehan, primarily based on the avarice of their actions. He achieves this duality and paralysis through the symbolism of the gold coin.
Joyce, James. “Two Gallants.” Dubliners:Text, Criticism, and Notes. Ed. Robert Scholes and A. Walton Litz. New York: Penguin Group, 1996. 49-60.
Litz, A. Walton. “‘Two Gallants.'” Dubliners:Text, Criticism, and Notes. Ed. Robert Scholes and A. Walton Litz. New York: Penguin Group, 1996. 327-38
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