Trapped in Paralysis
In “The Sisters” by James Joyce, the main character is the “I”-narrator who is a young boy living in Dublin. He is preoccupied with the paralytic state of his once close friend, Father Flynn, and learns of his death. The next morning he makes a journey to the dead man’s house confirming that he is dead. He begins to reflect back on his previous relationship with the dead man and much to his surprise, he feels liberated. That evening he visits Father Flynn’s house with his aunt. While listening to the discourse between his aunt and the dead man’s sisters, he discovers the reason why Father Flynn came to break down. At this point, he is disillusioned as he becomes aware of the menaces in reality.
The “I”-narrator in “The Sisters” is a young boy who lives in a very religious neighborhood in Dublin. He knows that Father Flynn is bound to die soon, so he checks on him every night, which is his initial goal. The main character is unaware of the corruption, weariness and disdainful state of his environment. The word “paralysis” is of great interest and mystery to him. “It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be near to it and to look upon its deadly work” (Joyce 1). One day he overhears old Cotter announcing Father Flynn’s death and speaking ill of him. The “I“-narrator has maintained a close relationship with Father Flynn, who used to teach him about life’s experiences and religious knowledge. Old Cotter disapproves of such a relationship, which upsets the narrator at the beginning. “I crammed my mouth with stirabout for fear I might give utterance to my anger” (Joyce 2). That night he has a nightmare in which Father Flynn appears to trouble him with gray images and confessing-like murmurs. Old Cotter’s slanderous words and his unpleasant dream about Father Flynn confuse the “I”-narrator all the more.
The next day, the “I”-narrator goes down to the house where Father Flynn used to live. This is because his long-held interpretation of...