by James Joyce
Dubliners Inertia Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Story.Paragraph)
Two gentlemen who were in the lavatory at the time tried to help him up: but he was quite helpless. He lay curled up at the foot of the stairs down which he had fallen. (Grace.1)
Who's helpless and curled up and doesn't have very good motor skills? Mr Kernan, that's who. Of course it's understandable that he's suffering from a little physical inertia after, oh, falling down the stairs. But what's not so understandable is his alcoholism. Tripping is an accident. Drinking's on purpose.
And everything went on beautifully until Johnny came in sight of King Billy's statue: and whether he fell in love with the horse King Billy sits on or whether he thought he was back again in the mill, anyhow he began to walk round the statue. (The Dead.298)
When you're walking in circles around a giant stone statue, well, then you know you're suffering from some serious inertia. What's interesting here is that we're hearing about this person's inertia from yet another person who's suffering from his own type of paralysis—Gabriel. Somehow we're doubting poor Gabe is self aware in this moment.