Taken from his Dubliners collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and some readers will recognise that Joyce, through the use of the title of the story, is suggesting to the reader the idea of repetition. The term counterparts refers to the copy or duplication of a legal document. This is significant, the idea of repetition, as throughout the story the reader realises that the main character, Farrington, is in fact repeating the same tasks both professionally and personally. It is through this repetition that the reader also realises that Joyce is placing emphasis on one of the main themes of the story, the theme of paralysis. It is through repetition, that Farrington in essence is going nowhere and remains doing the same things, daily.
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Buy Study Guide Summary: Farrington , a scrivener in a legal office, is called to see his tyrannical boss, Mr. After a few solid minutes of abuse, he is allowed to return to work with a strict deadline for copying a contract. Farrington returns to work, but as soon as he sits down the tedium of his job gets to him.
He goes out for a drink. He takes a glass of plain porter. The respite is short, however, because Farrington has to return to work. On his way in he notices the smell of the perfume of one of the clients, Miss Delacour. The chief clerk tells him sharply that Mr. Alleyne has been looking for him.
The copy of the correspondence for the Delacour case is needed. Farrington gets the correspondence, hoping that Mr. Miss Delacour is a wealthy middle-aged woman, and Mr. Alleyne is said to be sweet "on her or her money. He begins to think longingly of a night of drink. His pleasant dreams are interrupted by a furious Mr. With Miss Delacour standing by, Mr. Alleyne abuses Farrington about the missing letters. Farrington plays dumb. Alleyne asks rhetorically, "Do you think me an utter fool?
Miss Delacour smiles. Alleyne goes bezerk, demanding an apology. Later, Farrington waits around a corner hoping to get the cashier alone, so that he can ask to borrow some money.
The situation is grim: he had to apologize abjectly in private to Mr. Alleyne, and now the office will be a treacherous place for him. It dawns on Farrington that he can pawn his watch.
He gets six shillings and goes out drinking with his friends. He tells them the story of his triumph over Mr. Allyene, leaving out his abject apology. He repeats the story to various friends as they come in.
The men are buying each other drink after drink. The men leave the bar to go to another establishment called the Scotch House. More drinks are shared. The men are talking about strength; Weathers is showing off his biceps. Farrington shows off his, and then the two men arm wrestle. Weathers beats Farrington. Farrington is angry, and accuses Weathers of having put the weight of his body behind it.
They decide to go two out of three, and Weathers, after a struggle of respectable duration, beats him again. The curate, who was watching, expresses his admiration and Farrington snaps out of him. He changes the subject and calls for another drink. Waiting for his tram home, Farrington is full of fury. As he goes home, his anger mounts.
He comes home to find the kitchen empty with the fire nearly out. His small son Tom , one of five children, comes to greet him. His wife is out at church. Farrington orders the boy around, telling him to cook up the dinner his wife left for him. The boy obediently gets to work.
Then Farrington sees that the fire has gone out. Among authors, Joyce is among the best for conveying the atmosphere of boisterous social gatherings with clarity and charm. The themes of imprisonment, powerlessness, and resentment are all weaved together in this well-wrought story. Farrington spends a good part of the tale simply trying to scrape together enough money for a night of drink.
It becomes clear rather quickly that he is an alcoholic, and that each day must be spent seeking out a way to get drunk. His powerlessness comes through in his great confrontation with Mr. Farrington is allowed his moment of triumph, but it is followed by a forced abject apology. He endures humiliation in the end, with the assurance that if life at work was already hell, it is bound to become even worse. Farrington is not allowed to triumph anywhere.
At work, his boss forces him into submission. At the bar, the woman who catches his eye ignores him. He is bested by the young Weathers in a contest of strength. Emasculated at work, he is further emasculated by the woman and among his friends.
He excels in no arena of masculinity. He does not even succeed in his original aim, which was to get drunk. After the considerable quantity of alcohol he has consumed, we can only see his increased tolerance as another sign of his alcoholism.
He refers to his desire for alcohol as "thirst" throughout the whole story. As Little Chandler does in the previous story, Farrington takes out his anger on the nearest helpless target: his son.
Counterparts by James Joyce
Publication history[ edit ] Between , when Joyce first sent a manuscript to a publisher, and , when the book was finally published, Joyce submitted the book 18 times to a total of 15 publishers. The London house of Grant Richards agreed to publish it in Its printer, however, refused to set one of the stories " Two Gallants " , and Richards then began to press Joyce to remove a number of other passages that he claimed the printer also refused to set. Joyce protested, but eventually did agree to some of the requested changes.
Dubliners Summary and Analysis of Counterparts
Buy Study Guide Summary: Farrington , a scrivener in a legal office, is called to see his tyrannical boss, Mr. After a few solid minutes of abuse, he is allowed to return to work with a strict deadline for copying a contract. Farrington returns to work, but as soon as he sits down the tedium of his job gets to him. He goes out for a drink. He takes a glass of plain porter. The respite is short, however, because Farrington has to return to work. On his way in he notices the smell of the perfume of one of the clients, Miss Delacour.
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