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Clay James Joyce (B A 2nd Year Major English)

May 9th, 2013    No comments


          James Joyce

·        James is the modern writer

·        He developed the stream of consciousness

·        Way in to the mind of character is called stream of consciousness

·        Theme: study of the spinster psychology-meaning, elements, language

·        Interpretation: study of the nature of human mind

·        Symbolic story:

1.     wedding cake

2.     blindfolding game

3.     play book

4.     water &

5.     clay

Critical commentary of the story

The story ‘Clay” by James Joyce is related to the theme of the study of spinster (a’=s) psychology. By using the spinster character Maria as the typical character. James Joyce has related the reality that spinsters are haunted by the psychological problem of marital dream and they have always the single desire of fulfilling the marital life. The write has clearly reflected that spinsterhood also causes problem in the thinking label of Maria for the fulfillment of the marital desire. This spinsterhood also causes the problem of oblivion (habit of forget) to the marital desire. This reality is reflected in the story through the characterization of the Maria because almost all the time she is lost in the dream world her mirage. Her attraction to the colonel like man in the Tram (small train) and her sensitiveness to the ring and wedding cake justified that she is much tempted to her marital dream. Forgetting the plum cake and repeating and repeating the first verse of during the prayer by Maris also justify that spinsterhood cause oblivion to the ladies.

‘Clay has been interpreted even in the other ways. This story also studies the nature of human mind and the flow of thinking in different ways. Sometime our mind goes to the back and some other times it is in the dream of future while it is also aware of the present time. This stage of mind is also reflected in Maria and is called ‘epiphany’ by James Joyce. In the same way this story is also reminds us the value and is importance of the golden children stage of or life. Maria and her brothers Joe & Alpha are very nostalgia and we become emotional when we recall our happy and innocent childhood. The story is exceptionally realistic. Moreover the problem of oblivion in mind, the nostalgic recalling of the childhood as the other incidents described in the stories us highly realistic.

The plot in this story is different from the traditional plot style because James Joey has used stream of consciousness technique in the story. By using such plot the writer has focused on the stream of consciousness in the mind of the story. As an Irish writer, Joyce has used the spatial setting of Ireland which temporal setting is the charismas eve. Maria is the central character and her characterization is a protagonist but there is also some (rustle) identity because she speaks a little through her nose and when she smiles the tip of her log chin. The other characters are the minor character and the focus over the story is always related to Maria as the central character. The use of 3rdperson narration in the story it gives omniscient point of view to the reader.

The story has the use of complex symbolic language such as ring, wedding cake, blind folding game; prayer book, water and clay are the strong symbols in the story. Ring and wedding cake are symbolizes the long desire of Maris which is her marital life. Blindfolding game is the symbol of human life with the blindness of future. Prayer book symbolizes the spiritual side of Maria’s life and water symbolizes see journey or voyage and it is the allegory of human life because life is also a journey that begins after our birth. Clay is the most important symbols and it symbolizes the final destination of the journey of human life because at last after death we are converted in to clay. Even the ‘Bible’ says that the first man (Adam) was created from clay and even man changes in to clay after death. So the title of the story also symbolically tells us that clay is the final reality of all life. 

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