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A Painful Case - Four Levels | Adventure In English

James Joyce (1882 – 1941)

A Painful Case - Four Levels | Adventure In English

A Painful Case

Literal comprehension: Mr. James Duffy, a middle-aged bachelor lives an adventure less life in the beginning. But adventure comes when he meets Mrs. Emily Sinico by chance. They see each other at the concert and make appointments and finally, he visits her regularly at her home. Their friendship grows. He shares his intellectual life with her. She enjoys the break in her solitude (loneliness) but one night she makes the mistake of catching his hand passionately and pressing it to her cheeks. He leaves her forever. But four years later, Mr. Duffy reads in the paper of the lady’s death. She has been knocked down by a train in a state of intoxication (drunkenness). Mr. Duffy’s first reaction is one of hatred at such excessive drunkenness and of self-righteousness. On second thoughts, however, he feels uneasy and after a fit at self-pity realizes the burden of loneliness.

Interpretation: This story tells as about Loveless. It describes two painful cases: a man who denies (say “No”) love and a woman vainly search for it. It also tells us about loneliness. Lonely people fail to communicate with each other. But they realize the value of love and companionship only when it is very late.

Critical Thinking: The writer has presented the extra married love in this story and laughed at the main character because he refused such love. Living in the conservative Nepali society, we agree with James Duffy, not with the writer. How can we accept the love between a married woman and a bachelor? How such a moralist did realize his mistake? How could he feel sorry for Mrs. Sinico?

When I read this story I identified myself with Mrs. Sinico. I do not support her immoral love if she really wanted it. But I support her desire for friendship. Life is really lonely and hard to live if there is no one to love. In such a situation, one must have a friend. Otherwise, one become weak and starts drinking.

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