A little Cloud James Joyce Plot




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TitleA little Cloud James Joyce Plot
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A Little Cloud

James Joyce

Plot

The story follows Thomas Chandler, or "Little Chandler" as he is known, through a portion of his day. The story drops the reader into Little Chandler's life when he is at work. He cannot focus for he is preoccupied with the thought of a visit which is set to take place later that day. He anxiously awaits this visit that will be with his old friend Ignatius Gallaher. Gallaher is now a "brilliant figure" in the London Press and Little Chandler has not seen him in eight years. As Little Chandler thinks about his old friend and the success that has come to him, he begins to reflect upon his own life. This reflection gives the reader insight to Little Chandler's character. The reader sees Little Chandler as a mere observer of life, a reluctant character. He is timid, because he enjoys poetry yet is too "shy" to read it to his wife.

  • Little Chandler likes to think that he himself could have been a writer if only he had put his mind to it. All of the "different moods and impressions that he wished to express in verse" could still be achieved if he could just express himself. But as much as Little Chandler covers up his true feelings with these thoughts that seem to "comfort" him, the reader can see past this. The reader can see that Little Chandler in fact feels incompetent, underachieved, and ultimately inferior to his friend Gallaher.

  • These true feelings are more clearly exposed to the reader in the bar where Little Chandler actually meets Gallaher. Here, Gallaher tells enchanting stories of his vast traveling. His life is the exact opposite to that of Little Chandler's and Little Chandler begins to feel that his wife is what is holding him back from success as a result of Gallaher's glorification of his travels and freedoms. Without his wife, without his little boy, he would be free to prosper. Deep jealousy sets into Little Chandler. It seems as though the more they drink, and the longer they talk, the more inferior Chandler feels. Still, he tries to hide his envy of Gallaher's life by saying how one day Gallaher would get married and start a family too.



  • Joyce then suddenly shifts the scene to Little Chandler's home. We find Little Chandler with his child in his arms. He is sitting at a table looking at a picture of his wife, Annie. He looks into her eyes searching for answers to his now very confused state of mind. All he finds is coldness. He sees a pretty girl, but he can see no life in her, and he compares her unfavourably to the rich, exotic women that Gallaher says are available to him. He wonders why he married Annie. He then opens a book of Byron's poetry and begins to read until the child begins to cry and Little Chandler finds that he cannot comfort him. Little Chandler snaps at his son. The frightened baby cries harder and harder until Annie comes. Through her interaction with Little Chandler and the child, it becomes apparent that Little Chandler is not her main priority.

  • Little Chandler feels trapped. All feelings of hope that existed at the beginning of the day are now gone. It is at this moment that Little Chandler reaches a deep moment of recognition. He finally sees the truth that the reader has known all along. His own reluctance is the only thing responsible for his feelings of incompleteness, and he can now only blame himself. Tears come to Little Chandler's eyes, and the story is cut off.



Point of View

  • In this short story, the author uses the third-person limited point of view

  • The reader learns about the events in this short story is mainly restricted to Little Chandler. His timid behavior and changing feeling and thought is totally described.

  • But, Gallaher and his wife’s image is showed thought what he sees and what he thinks except some dialogue. We have no direct knowledge about them. For example, Gallaher’s immoral past is presented through Little Chandler’ memory; his wife’s coldness to him is presented from the picture he sees.



Characterization

  • Little Chandler (round character )

  • In the story, Joyce gives Chandler a round character, we can see his mental activities. From these, we know that he is a timid man, full of unpractical imagination. And he wants to change his fate and becoming a poet like Byron, but he is doomed to fail because of some obstacles.



  • Gallaher (flat character)

  • He used to be a poor, immoral guy. Eight years later, Gallaher has made a success of himself in London Press with his many talents. Gallaher comes back to show off his achievements. Vulgar and vanity is presented.

  • And all of these information about Gallaher are got from the observation of his friend little Chandler, and we can not get his mental activity, and daily life, etc.



Symbolism

  • Little: Little Chandler; little house; little lamp

  • “Little” stands for something important. “ Little ” in Little Chandler stands for not only short body, but also the lower status. “ little ” in little house and little lamp stands a phenomenon that is poor people have no money to buy big or expensive object.

  • Cloud: cloud gives us a feeling of solitary and hesitating about which way to go. Here cloud stands for spiritual paralysis and flowing of his mind.

  • Little Cloud could also refers to Little Chandler. A little man living in a little cloud of a dream world. And he doesn’t realize until later that he is living in a cloud world and has punished his family for it.



Questions for rumination

  • Is Little Chandler’s timidity a sign of weakness in character?

  • “Different moods and impressions that he wished to express in verse, “can he succeed if he really wants to?

  • Why does Little Chandler feels trapped?



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