‘The Boarding House’

Text

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Commentary


James Joyce (born in Dublin in 1882) published Dubliners in 1914, although the stories were written a decade earlier whilst Joyce lived in Trieste. Throughout his writing career he reflected on his home city from a distance, producing some of the most experimental of Modernist writing.
Mrs Mooney, the ‘Madam’ of the boarding house of the title, is a ruthless manager. The passage indicated has her making sure that nothing is wasted, crusts of bread saved to be re-used, sugar and butter locked up. Polly is her daughter whom she has been watching become involved with one of the lodgers, and in this scene Mrs Mooney is making up her mind as to how to ensure her marriage to the man in question. As often with Joyce, the presence of the Church is felt, here, the noise of bells and the sight of people coming out of Mass. Mrs Mooney calculates that she can sort out her business and still be in time for the ‘short twelve’ Mass.

Themes

Boundaries and Thresholds
Gender / Sexualities
Labour
Social Position
Consumer Practices
Human Relationships

Dominant Representational Strategies

Context

Dwelling

Type
Commercial
Detail
Lodging House
Historical Terminology
Specified Social Level
Unspecified

Activities

Type
Hygiene and Upkeep
Intellectual, Cultural and Spritual
Detail
Cleaning
Managing
Thinking

Rooms

Type
Dining Room
Historical Terminology

Inhabitants

Type
People
Detail
Adults
Female

Objects

Type
Furniture
The Arts, Recreation and Ceremony
Detail
Supporting, Storage and Display

Bibliography

Direct Cross-References

Indirect Cross-References

Names
Joyce, James
Date(s)
1914
Country
Ireland
Historical Region
Description
Format
Book
Type
Genre
Short Story
Publication
Dubliners, Minerva, 1992, p.53
Copyright
Location
Record ID
CG1086