A Consideration Of Farrington In James Joyce

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A Consideration Of Farrington In James Joyce’s “Counterparts” Essay, Research Paper 2. Consider the character Farrington in “Counterparts” and expound upon his character and the social conditions that helped to create him. While it may be hard to like the characters that Joyce gives us in “The Dubliners”, I believe you must view these characters with an eye focused upon the oppression of the Irish people and the subjugation of their culture and society by the ruling class of England. The Irish people have a long tradition of rebellion against their alleged English masters and the psychological effects of constant oppression and eternal rebellion would clearly weigh heavily upon the hearts and minds of the citizenry. Irish rebellion and nationalism were well

founded before Joyce. The genesis of the movement seems to be the ideas of the United Irishmen and the failed rebellion of 1798. The times in which Joyce lived were truly chaotic in his homeland. The Irish situation was deteriorating rapidly, the year 1913 saw the founding of the Labour Party in Ireland. 1913 also saw “The Great Lockout” of workers that crippled the common man and galvanized the Irish Labour movement. The Irish Citizen Army was also founded in Dublin. Joyce was to witness four major nationalist parties in Ireland, the Irish Parliamentary Party, Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Such noted historical figures as James Connolly, and James Larkin organized the Irish in their resistance to English Imperialism. This

is the heated environment that James Joyce was to witness, and he was to be moved by these and prior events to seek to awaken the populace to the exploitation that was hindering the intellectual and nationalistic growth of the land. Not only were the people being hindered by the British, but also by the Catholic church. The church seemed to pacify the people and quell their desire to seek power. Insistence upon other worldly justice leads to a pacifism that stops the rebellious spirit. This is what Joyce sought to end. His characters represent the volatility, helplessness, and poverty of the time, as they struggle to overcome the agents of oppression that dominated their world. One unlikely image of the struggle against tyranny is Farrington in “Counterparts”. Farrington has

obviously slaved his entire life for those who have not rewarded or appreciated his labors. Mr. Alleyne is a symbol for the foreign carpetbaggers that descended upon Ireland like so many vultures to seek their fortunes from the sweat of the Irish working class. But Farrington has nobly continued on, he has lived his entire life in the service of others and has nothing to show for it other than his age and a pocket watch that he will hock to purchase the whiskey that helps to alleviate his mental anguish. His heartless boss, Mr. Alleyne, insults him to impress a bourgeois women that is hanging upon his well appareled arm, only to be quickly, and wittily, rebuffed by the weary Farrington. “Do you think me an utter fool?” Alleyne queries pompously. Made a fool of by Farringtons

well known response, all Alleyne can do is threaten to terminate the employment of our poor anti-hero. Farrington dejectedly takes to the streets to seek his comfort in the only source that he can think of; alcohol. While alcohol is not currently accepted as a solution to problems, in the 19th and early 20th century it was considered perfectly fine. The sadness of Farringtons condition is advanced further by the fact that he pawns his watch and chain for six shillings. With coins in hand, Farrington moves off into the night to seek his comfort. Here in the pubs, Farrington briefly regains his honor and his status while his story is told throughout the night. Farrington began to buy drinks for his friends and was now an honored man. This is sadly the traditional role of the