Francesco Recchia
Mr. Gilmore
English IV -5
Freedom versus Entrapment
James Joyce\'s Dubliners was written in 1914 right at the onset of World War I breaking out in Europe. It is a journey through the stages of life itself: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, public life and finally death. Each one of the stories in the novel fall into one of these stages. "After the Race" falls into the adolescence aspect of the book. It does this because the characters have not yet grown up. Although they are adults they are still immature. Jimmy is easily fooled into gambling away all of his money. He never regretted it. He was actually happy that Routh won the game and took everyone\'s money. Because of actions like this they are very carefree about how they go about with life. The only thing that they want to do is be happy. They were very free, moving about doing whatever they wanted, but a cloud was settling over them. This cloud was entrapment. Most of the story is about how the characters struggled to keep their freedoms over the entrapments. It also touches upon other characters from other stories by paralleling Jimmy to Eveline. "After the Race" is a story in which the ideas of freedom and entrapment are tested and joined as one to prove the overall archetype in Dubliners of paralysis and death.
Freedom can be seen throughout this story. Each character presents their own struggle with freedom. The aspect of freedom can also be seen in the setting that is used in "After the Race." Even the aspect of a race can be thought of as freedom. The drivers are speeding along down windy roads toward an endpoint where there is a reward. While driving the driver can become one with nature. He sees his surroundings and must make split second decisions about what to do. One can see freedom in this. It is the freedom of choice. In Dubliners as a whole many characters struggle with this freedom. It is no different in the story of "After the Race."
The race that is spoken about has a long history of running. It is run once every four years. The course itself has long mountain climbs through Achill Island, Kerry, Cork and Wicklow and a fast frenetic route from Criterium to Dublin\'s O\'Connell Street and Parnell Square. It consists of one hundred twelve kilometers through Slane, Navan, Clonee and Lucan. The roads that the race is run on are always shut down. The drivers pass through beautiful scenery and are greeted in Dublin by thousands of spectators. The finish line to the race is in front of the President\'s house. 1
The race car itself also brings a sense of freedom to the reader of the story. Joyce writes, "How smoothly it ran. In what style they had come careering along the country roads! The journey laid a magical finger on the genuine pulse of life and gallantly the machinery of human nerves strove to answer the bounding courses of the swift blue animal."2 This shows how they viewed the complex machinery of a race car as a sort of freedom. "Today many people still view the idea of complex machinery as freedom because of mankind\'s control over nature."3 The city to city races that would take place along European country side around the turn of the century were a "sport of beauty in which even spectators were free to interact with the drivers."4
The passengers of the car were even experiencing their own freedoms. Joyce writes, "In one of these trimly built cars was a party of four young men whose spirits seemed to be at present well above the level of successful Gallicism: in fact, these four young men were almost hilarious." 5 The men in the car were very carefree. "They knew that they would probably not win this race, but continued to go about their merry ways." 6 They cruised through the countryside and into the crowded streets of Dublin knowing that they had lost the race. Garrett says they were proud of their achievement of making it through the entire race. 7 There is the same sense of freedom that was involved with the race. That freedom is the freedom