Moral Responsibility in Joyce's “Clay”

Thomas F. Staley

in Foundational Essays in James Joyce Studies

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780813035291
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038483 | DOI:
Moral Responsibility in Joyce's “Clay”

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This chapter focuses on the issue of moral responsibility highlighted in James Joyce's “Clay.” Most of the critical exegesis of Joyce's “Clay” reveals a great deal of dexterity on the part of the nearly dozen critics who have written on this popular story. The structure of the story is based upon Maria's recognition of the hypocrisy of her existence through a series of encounters with her fellow Dubliners. The theme of the disintegration of human understanding and love is enforced by each and every social relationship that the story unfolds. In “Clay” Joyce gives a glimpse of the great moral theme of Ulysses: man's lack of a sense of responsibility to himself and to his fellow man.

Keywords: Clay; short stories; social relationship; hypocrisy; disintegration

Chapter.  2605 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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