I just wrote what might be my last paper ever, on narrative strategies in “The Dead,” the last story in Dubliners. Ten pages in eight hours, folks!
How did I manage to graduate with an undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature and not read any Joyce? This man is amazing. As a writer myself, I’m always on the lookout for craft, and “The Dead,” like all good stories, is really two stories (or maybe more). You’ve got the surface blarney about dinner parties and ex-boyfriends, and then you’ve got the deep truth about human relations, performance, and snow falling faintly, faintly falling. And it’s really, really fun to pick out the story behind the story, the why-ness of Joyce putting it all together. It’s such a musical story, with repetition and counterpoint and and and
*jazz hands of lit-crazy*
I think I’m just going to have to shut up and teach it in my summer seminar.
Yes indeed! I have a summer job! I’m going to be teaching a short story seminar to first-year med students. In addition to “The Dead,” I want to do “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (Flannery O’Connor) and “Disguised” (Isaac Bashevis Singer, which I heard read by Nathan Englander on the New Yorker fiction podcast) and … one more. Maybe doing something a little more medical? Chekhov, perhaps? Any suggestions?
First, though, bed.