Two Gallants Essay

1202 words 5 pages
Two Gallants

A short story by James Joyce published in his 1914 collection Dubliners.

Two men, Lenehan and Corley, are walking the streets of central Dublin on a Sunday evening. Corley dominates the conversation telling Lenehan about a girl he has recently seduced, a maid who works for a wealthy family. He brags about how the girl supplies him with cigars and cigarettes, which she steals from the family. Corley considers his relationship with this girl superior compared to when he used to ask women out and spend money on them. The two men have arranged a meeting with the maid, where the aim is to convince the maid to bring them money, stolen from her employees. Corley has a date with the girl later that evening, and before he leaves
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He can aim no higher than to extort the profits of a simpleminded girl for the rest of his life.

Out of the two men, Lenehan seems to be the one who wants leave Dublin the most. When the two are walking around in Dublin, there is phrase, which reinforces this. “As the men walked on through the crowd Corley occasionally turned to smile at some of the passing girls but Lenehan’s gaze was fixed on the large faint moon circled with a double halo.” Corley is still able to enjoy parts of the city. Lenehan on the other hand seems to have seen it all. He is a man on the edge, quite literally, when he is talking with Corley in the beginning, he is walking on the verge of the path.

Joyce continues to set up these uncertain expectations, and to surprise the reader, like in the beginning, where the two guys are discussing whether or not Corley can “bring it off” with the girl. Here you are as a reader still unaware of their real aim with the girl. But the biggest surprise is the break in the narrative structure. The conversation between the two gallants about the forthcoming meeting with the girl, leads the reader to expect a romantic tale, but when Corley leaves Lenehan to see the girl, the focus shifts to Lenehan. As a reader one only sees the result, not the process. Instead we follow Lenehans aimlessly walk through Dublin, where nothing exciting happens. But maybe this is in fact the real life of an Irish gallant?

The relationship between the two gallants seems


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