| Quote #1
Poor James was so nervous […]
After that he began to mope by himself, talking to no one and wandering about by himself. (The Sisters.68,70)
Mrs Sinico in "A Painful Case" mopes and wanders, too. Dublin's a little bit like a zombie movie this way. We like to imagine all kinds of lonely folks, roaming the sidewalks, hoping to ease just a bit of their pain.
| Quote #2
My voice had an accent of forced bravery in it and I was ashamed of my paltry stratagem. (An Encounter.40)
Kiddos in Dublin suffer more than you might think. The narrator of "The Sisters" is dealing with some awkward, confusing grief. And here, the narrator of "An Encounter" is in some real, serious danger. It would be easy to write off these kids and pay attention to the juicier suffering of their adult counterparts, what with all the boozing and bumming they do, but we shouldn't, because they set the tone for the whole collection.
| Quote #3
The implacable faces of his employer and of the madam stared upon his discomfiture. (The Boarding House.23)
Imagine a boss who always says, "it's wrong, do it over." Mr Doran knows he can't win this fight, and given the fact that he's a Dubliner, it's not much of a surprise that he turns to drink to drown his suffering. In Joyce's Dublin, that's just what you do.