James Joyce’s well-known brief story, “Clay,” was printed in 1914 in his assortment of brief tales titled, Dubliners.
Like actually each different brief story ever printed, “Clay” makes a powerful previous view worth assertion early on after which reveals a brand new view reversal of that previous view on the finish. Let me exhibit a three-step technique that helps you analyze any brief story utilizing these ideas and that may provide help to get began writing literary essays:
#1- EARLY ON, STRONG STATEMENT: Initially of a brief story, a powerful worth assertion, an previous view, is given by or about the principle character, asserting an analysis or describing some attribute, purpose, or want.
The very first sentence identifies a purpose or want of the principle character:
The matron had given her go away to exit as quickly as the ladies’s tea was over and Maria appeared ahead to her night out.
Within the description of Maria’s preparing to exit for the night, as she’s getting ready and serving tea for the ladies of the Dublin by Lamplight laundry, two sturdy previous view worth statements are made about two necessary traits of Maria,
- Maria, you’re a veritable peace-maker!
- Mamma is mamma however Maria is my correct mom.
Due to the energy of the primary previous view worth assertion, we’re given expectations of discovering out how Maria was a strong-willed, intelligent, resourceful peace-maker, one who may carry peace to any troubled scenario. And we count on from the second to learn the way she was Joe’s correct mom in all of the idealistic ways in which the phrase suggests.
#2-IN MIDDLE, SUPPORTING/UNDERCUTTING: In the midst of a brief story, the previous view is supported or undercut with descriptions, conflicts, and resolutions that arrange the brand new view on the finish.
DESCRIPTION: Many descriptions happen all through the story that undercut the previous views, so we’ll must zero in on these with the clearest influence on the previous view – new view relationship within the story.
To start with of the story, there is a combination of brief descriptions of Maria’s character, her previous, her plan for her journey to Joe’s home that night, her relationship to Joe and Alphy as their nursing maid and nanny, how Joe and Alphy bought Maria her the job on the laundry, Joe and Alphy’s presently strained relationship, the happenings at tea time, and Maria’s ideas whereas dressing to prepare for her night out.
Throughout the tea-time meal, Lizzie Fleming mentioned Maria was certain to get the ring and, although Fleming had mentioned that for thus many Hallow Eves, Maria needed to chuckle and say she did not need any ring or man both; and when she laughed her grey-green eyes sparkled with upset shyness and the tip of her nostril almost met the tip of her chin.
Since Lizzie had mentioned, Maria was certain to get the ring… for thus many Hallow Eves, it’s plain that Lizzie had lengthy needed for Maria to get the ring, get a person, and get married. So did Maria. Although Maria says she did not need any ring or man both, her laughing with upset shyness says in any other case. She all the time needed to be a correct mom, to boost her circle of relatives, however she by no means fairly bought the prospect of getting married, which might have made that attainable.
And what’s up with the outline of Maria’s laughing and the tip of her nostril almost met the tip of her chin, which happens once more two sentences later, in addition to at Joe’s home, when she’s being blindfolded to play one other fortunetelling sport? It have to be necessary, although it isn’t clear how. Perhaps it simply emphasizes her upset shyness about her relationships with males and her emotions about desirous to get married.
Proper after Lizzie Fleming’s prediction, Then Ginger Mooney lifted her mug of tea and proposed Maria’s well being whereas all the opposite girls clattered with their mugs on the desk, and mentioned she was sorry she hadn’t a sup of porter to drink it in.
This description is necessary to remember on the finish of the story. I will carry it up in my dialogue concerning the story’s ending, later.
CONFLICT: To start with, it was clear that Maria was all the time despatched for when the ladies quarreled.
RESOLUTION: Why? As a result of she talked all the time soothingly: ‘Sure, my expensive,’ and No, my expensive.’ It was Maria’s soothing niceness, her approach of passive peacemaking, which all the time resolved conflicts on the Dublin by Lamplight, not any cleverness of persuasion or energy of character that earned her the standing of veritable peace-maker.
CONFLICT: In the midst of the story, when Maria went to a downtown pastry store on Henry Road, the fashionable younger girl behind the counter, who was evidently somewhat aggravated by her, requested her was it wedding-cake she needed to purchase. That made Maria blush and smile on the younger girl; however the younger girl took all of it very critically.
RESOLUTION: Maria’s resolution to the little conflict-she blushed and smiled. Her soothing did not actually remedy the battle, nevertheless it did easy it over. Extra passive niceness.
CONFLICT: Close to the tip of the story, the ladies could not discover a nutcracker for Maria and Joe bought upset about it.
RESOLUTION: Maria properly mentioned she did not like nuts they usually weren’t to trouble about her. Once more, passive soothing, not fixing.
CONFLICT: When Joe and his spouse tried to push beer and wine on her, Maria tried to refuse.
RESOLUTION: … however Joe insisted. So Maria let him have his approach.
As soon as once more, Maria solved a battle by being good and passively giving in to others, simply smoothing issues over.
CONFLICT: Maria thought she would put in a very good phrase for Alphy. However Joe cried that God would possibly strike him stone lifeless if ever he spoke a phrase to his brother once more.
RESOLUTION: As a substitute of being a correct mom and a peace-maker together with her ‘youngsters,’ Joe and Alphy, Maria mentioned she was sorry she had talked about the matter. As she famous earlier in serious about the Joe-Alphy battle, however such was life, and Maria definitely was too passive and never peace-maker sufficient to resolve the scenario.
#3-AT END, A NEW VIEW REVERSAL. On the finish of a brief story, a brand new view reverse of the previous view is normally revealed.
When Maria will get to Joe’s, there’s one other Irish fortune-telling sport (known as Puicíní: “poocheeny”). Within the sport, a blindfolded particular person is seated in entrance of a desk on which a number of saucers are positioned. The saucers are shuffled, and the blindfolded, seated particular person then chooses one by contact. The contents of the chosen saucer supposedly foretell the particular person’s life throughout the next yr: water meant journey, a prayer ebook meant the priesthood or a nunnery, and a hoop meant marriage.
In being blindfolded to play this sport, Maria laughed and laughed once more until the tip of her nostril almost met the tip of her chin-more proof of the upset shyness we noticed earlier. At first, her hand touched a mushy moist substance together with her fingers… Any person mentioned one thing concerning the backyard… Mrs. Donnelly mentioned… that was no play… Maria understood that it was fallacious that point and so she needed to do it over once more: and this time she bought the prayer-book.
As only one occurring of the night, only a sport, the incident appears harmless sufficient. However what’s mushy and moist and comes from the backyard? Clay, which is the title of the story. And clay is mushy and passive and moldable by no matter pressures it. Does not that describe Maria?
The place’s the sturdy veritable peace-maker or the correct mom who molds others, who directs and guides and blesses her youngsters by way of thick and skinny? This incident is a powerful undercutting of these previous views and reminds us of her indecision in shopping for truffles downtown and chatting with the stout gentleman on the tram, the place all she may do was favor him with demure nods and hems.
And she or he will get the prayerbook within the sport, not the ring. That is acceptable for Maria as a result of, as Joyce reveals us again and again, she really cannot deal with a lot of anything.
The strongest suggestion of Maria by no means getting a person and by no means, subsequently, having the prospect to be a correct mom, is when she sings a track at Joe’s request on the very finish. The track brings to thoughts Maria’s life in comparison with the lifetime of the lady whose phrases she is singing. The track was, “I Dreamed that I Dwelt,” and two traces within the track remind us of the ladies at tea time: And of all who assembled inside these partitions, That I used to be the hope and the delight.
You may recall that at tea time Ginger Mooney lifted her mug of tea and proposed Maria’s well being whereas all the opposite girls clattered with their mugs on the desk.
That sort of clattering with their mugs on the desk might be additionally very like how these within the track would categorical That I used to be the hope and the delight, after they assembled inside these partitions. The place else would they assemble to precise such hope and delight besides in a banquet corridor? Feasts and banquets can be the pure setting, and the wealthy feasters would, little question, toast the wealthy girl Of a excessive ancestral title with clattering and banging their mugs on the desk, simply because the poor, unwed moms of the laundry did at tea time for his or her good, poor pal, Maria.
The track was a few girl with riches and a excessive ancestral title. And the lady within the track felt That you just cherished me nonetheless the identical, referring to some wealthy man, little question. After all, that was the precise reverse or reverse of virtually penniless Maria, who, blushing very a lot as she started singing, was very a lot conscious that she was very poor, labored in a laundry for unwed moms, and could not even deal with a standard dialog with a standard man on a tram with out shedding her wits and her plum cake.
On the story’s finish, Joyce suggests as soon as once more that Maria is, in actual fact, the brand new view reverse of a strong-willed peace-maker with persuasive powers for fixing conflicts, which the ladies of the laundry believed she was. As to being my correct mom, Maria’s letting Joe manipulate her so many times-past and present-actually present that she had not even been a powerful substitute mom, not to mention a “correct mom.”
The very fact is, Maria’s total character-as developed extra absolutely within the center and finish of the story-is the brand new view reverse of the 2 sturdy character descriptions given initially. Maria is definitely as weak and passive and moldable and non-propagating (not giving of life, as a correct mom can be) because the title of the story suggests: She was lifeless, passive, moldable clay. Good match.
Primarily based on our dialogue, listed below are some pattern thesis statements to present you a number of concepts for writing a powerful essay on Joyce’s brief story, “Clay:”
- Joyce’s story “Clay” reveals us the theme that, ‘Anybody who provides up too many private selections to others can change into sterile, unproductive, and incapable of controlling their very own lives.’
- Joyce reveals with Maria in his story “Clay” that society might imagine we’re a method, after we are, paradoxically, precisely the alternative.
- James Joyce’s “Clay” offers ample proof in little conflicts all through the story that Maria lacks the energy others suppose she has as a peace-maker and a correct mom, particularly on the finish.
- The brief story “Clay,” by James Joyce, makes use of imagery in descriptions initially, center, and finish to trace of Maria’s true character of weak, moldable clay, not energy.
- “Clay” by James Joyce makes use of symbolism within the story’s title, within the vacation video games, and within the track on the finish to point out that Maria is weak, not sturdy, and that she’s not what she’s labeled as being by her buddies.