James Joyce’s “An Encounter”: From the Perversion of an Escape to the Perversion of the Fatherhood

Omid Ghahreman, Farideh Pourgiv

Abstract


Ambiguity is an indispensable part of modern fiction that has always implied what is always merited as the ‘literariness’ and ‘sophistication’ of that fiction. In modern fiction, particularly in James Joyce’s Dubliners, ambiguity and indeterminacy transcend the textual difficulty and achieve a ‘mysterious’ level. That is to say, Joyce renders the frequent unfinished and elliptical sentences, as well as the absent words, phrases, paragraphs, and even characters more significant than all those present. In Dubliners, this unique concept of ambiguity and indeterminacy, that tends to be Joyce’s narrative signature, is called “gnomonic” – a term derived from Euclid’s gnomon. A gnomon is formed by removing a similar parallelogram from a corner of a larger parallelogram. Gnomons in Dubliners indicate not only the incompletion and failure, but also the dialectical cycle of presence and absence. Words prove mostly insufficient to convey meaning, and actions are subject to failure even before they start. But Joyce’s approach to gnomon is not a passively confirming one. Joyce skillfully benefits the mysterious condition that his gnomonics make for sustaining his creativity in order to overwhelm intellectually the distorting powers in his society. Therefore, if Joyce’s stories seem unsolvable and vague, it is not because of their merely textual difficulties. They present, instead, some gnomonic mysteries of varying degrees and depths. As a way to get readers to read Joyce thoughtfully, this study is going to shed light on this unique gnomonic nature of Joycean mysteries in “An Encounter”, one of the childhood stories in Dubliners.

 


Keywords


Joyce, Dubliners, An Encounter, ambiguity, gnomon, paralysis

Full Text:

PDF

References


Borg, R. (2010). Mirrored Disjunctions: On a Deleuzo-Joycean Theory of the Image. Journal of Modern Literature, 33(2), 131-148.

Bulson, E. (2006). The Cambridge Introduction to James Joyce. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Daiches, D. (1968). Dubliners. In Peter K. Garrett (Ed.), Twentieth Century Interpretations of Dubliners (27-37) Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Eide, M. (2004). Ethical Joyce. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Feshbach, S. (1965). Death in “An Encounter”. James Joyce Quarterly, 2 (2), 82-89.

Gifford, D. (1982). Joyce Annotated. California: University of California Press.

Gordon, J. (1995). Dubliners and the Art of Losing. Studies in Modern Fiction. Retrieved from

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2455/is_n3_v32/ai_19517926.

Herring, P. F. (1987). Joyce’s Uncertainty Principle. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Joyce, J. (1992). A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Gramercy Books.

Joyce, J. (1914). Dubliners. New York: Gramercy Books.

Joyce, J. (1964). Finnegans Wake. London: Faber and Faber.

Magalaner, M. & Kain, R. M. (1957). Joyce: The Man, the Work, The Reputation. London: John Calder.

Simon, R. (1821). The Elements of Euclid. Philadelphia: Robert and Thomas Desilver.

Spinks, L. (2009). James Joyce: A Critical Guide. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Tindall, W. Y. (1963). A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce. London: Thames and Hudson.

Weir, D. (1991). Gnomon is an island: Euclid and Bruno in Joyce’s Narrative Practice. James Joyce Quarterly, 28 (2), 343-360.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.2n.2p.158

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.