Joyce

Map of Maria's route in James Joyce's "Clay"

In Joyce's short story, "Clay," Maria goes on a journey from the laundry (a home/recovery center for women) where she works in the kitchen to visit her friends, the Donnellys. Interestingly, Maria's route is very nearly the inverse of the route taken by the boy in "Araby." Assuming I have the approximate locations correct, Maria's journey begins and ends within a half mile of the boy's starting and ending points. The only really major difference is that Maria goes north on her trip and the boy goes south. Both characters are very excited about their journey, greatly build it up, and then are disappointed in the end.

Walking Araby

After basically giving up on trying to pinpoint the exact location of the Araby market, I decided that it would be interesting to get a first-hand experience of the boy's journey in the story. Using street view in Google Maps, I decided to walk the route from North Richmond St, turned onto N Circular Rd, onto Summerhill Parade, and finally onto Buckingham St. I know that my experience is a century removed from the boy's walk, but I was still struck by the streets of Dublin.

The first thing that surprised me is that the building in this neighborhood, even in modern times, are very small. Nothing is over 2 or 3 stories. I am used to big cities having tall buildings and narrow streets. Dublin, on the other hand, has short buildings and the streets are quite average-sized. However, the streets still felt incredibly claustrophobic. There are so many buildings packed together on a single street that you feel almost always like you are walking down an alley or corridor. The other surprising thing was the maze of streets you walk through. I am used to the grid system layout of Tulsa; it is simple and logical. Dublin is one jumbled mess. It is a labrynth. It seems like every hundred feet some side street branched off into another corridor. I felt trapped. It made me think how Joyce must have felt walking through these streets, using them even as inspiration for his works. There must have been such a unique atmosphere (especially back then when I'm sure the conditions of the streets were much, much worse). The streets of Dublin seem to be characters in and of themselves in Joyce's works, and I can certainly see why that is.

Opposing Factors: Network Graphs and the Themes of Joyce and Eliot

While I was toggling between filters on Gephi, I found the most interesting information to be the sort of "over-arching" themes of Joyce and Eliot.  When you select the filter "Eliot,"  the words "immortality" and "aesthetics,"  and the words "death" and "religion," oppose each other on the graph.  Alternatively, using the "Joyce" filter, the graph formulated creates a triangle of "irony," "greatness," and "mediocrity."  

By looking at how these words are related to one another, comparing Joyce and Eliot, one can "read" the major concerns, and the interior conflicts, of their work.  For Eliot, he is concerned with each of the four terms described, but he is also interested in their relationships.  He wonders, in many of his poems, if aesthetics are immortal, and he wonders if religion is dead.  Further, can his aesthetics immortalize him, and can the lack of religion, or too much religion, kill?  

With Joyce, it seems that the irony of his own greatness is his exposure of mediocrity, especially in Bloom's life.  OR, that the irony of life is that everything great is truly mediocre and vice versa.  Perhaps, because this data is subjective, this is more of a reading of individual students' readings of the work, but it nevertheless indicates to some degree the message that these works create.