The Boarding House
Mrs. Mooney, a character in the story the Boarding House, is manning a boarding house that in most cases accommodates tourists and Dublin clerks, among other personalities. She is a key character in the story and most things that take place are revolving around her. She is adept, authoritative, and a resolute woman, with a strong will of survival and persistence. She has been separated from the abusive husband who was also alcoholic, and she is now living an independent life. She has a daughter (Polly) who worked as a typist but is currently involved with the management of the boarding house. Her cool and calculating personality is portrayed from her perseverance in her marriage life, where she endures all the suffering and abuses against her by the ex-husband. She does not lose her temper easily as a mother, and her desire to hold the family together is strong, even when she discovered that her abusive husband had an affair.
She can be described as a good parent from the way she handles her daughter, Polly. This is seen from her insistence on Polly marrying Mr Doran, who he sees as a better man for her daughter. To some, this act of dominant parental nature has no place in the current societal setting, and is considered unnecessary. Her calm demeanor is portrayed from the way she handles her daughter’s relationship situation to Mr Doran as she confronts them about the affair without any fear. Although she knew of her 19-year old daughter’s affair with Mr Doran (an employee at boarding house), she is calm, and patiently waits for the right time to intervene in the relationship. Mrs Mooney even feigns her anger and outrage in order to get a social arrangement (marriage) that will largely benefit her daughter, Polly – a further indication of her manipulative nature. In essence, the story, the Boarding House, portrays matrimony as a ‘social convention’ and a ‘trap’ as depicted in various experiences of the discussed characters.
The Two Gallants
Corley performs the role of a dominant male and is considered as one of the most important characters. Corley is portrayed as huge, strong, and sweaty, with leading characteristics that make him very influential. He is an outgoing fellow, talking virtually to everyone, especially those of the opposite sex (flirting and staring at all the girls). Corley is also depicted as being self-centered, and to some extent, a non-empathetic listener who pays no particular attention on those around him. He spends most of the time talking about himself with immense pride and little sense of humor, or even intellect, in his arguments. For example, he dominates his conversation, bragging about his ‘classy’ lifestyle. Correspondingly, his arguments are not intelligent as he puts little emphasis on analyzing his thoughts.
His classy lifestyle is dominant in most parts of the story from the description of his dating life. For instance, Corley asserts that he does not date girls anymore given that most of them are only concerned with his money. ‘Gallants’ (the young men of fashion), as the title of the story affirms, is enough description of Corley and other dominant characters. Corley, a son of a police chief and with a relatively comfortable upbringing, canoodles a lot with prostitutes and is occasionally engaged in petty criminal activities. His social status and occupation is arguably vague as he spends most of the time drinking at a bar in central Dublin. Corley is the ‘big man on campus’ and is relatively wealthy from a good background, but is still motivated towards living beyond his means.
Walzl, Florence L. “Pattern of Paralysis in Joyce’s Dubliners: A Study of the Original Framework.” College English (2001): 221-22.