Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dubliners, James Joyce

I love Joyce's ability to tell us all we need to know about his characters through a brief description of their physical features.

Examples abound:

His breeches, his white rubber shoes and his jauntily slung waterproof expressed youth. But his figure fell into rotundity at the waist, his hair was scant and grey and his face, when the waves of expression had passed over it, had a ravaged look.

(Two Gallants)

Mrs. Mooney was a butcher's daughter..... She dealt with moral problems as a cleaver deals with meat ...

He was a shabby stooped little drunkard with a white face and a white moustache white eyebrows, pencilled above his little eyes, which were veined and raw...

Polly was a slim girl of nineteen; she had light soft hair and a small full mouth. Her eyes, which were grey with a shade of green through them, had a habit of glancing upwards when she spoke with anyone, which made her look like a little perverse madonna.

( All from The Boarding House)

Mr. Alleyne, a little man wearing gold-rimmed glasses on a cleanshaven face, shot his head up over a pile of documents. The head itself was so pink and hairless it seemed like a large egg reposing on the papers.


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