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    Hermaphroditic Joyce By Dante Essay

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    Dante’s The Hermaphroditic Joyce” is a powerful example of the importance of dialogue in storytelling.

    In literature, it is all too often that characters live only in the jaded voice of the author and never truly develop as their own or are not strongly opinionated in a manner which contrasts the opinions of the writer. It is also unfortunately true that the women depicted in most male-authored literature do not often sound realistic or how most women one would speak to in the course of the day tend to sound. All too often, women are depicted on a lower level of speech than men. For instance, Dickens and Arthur Miller both apparently subscribed to this notion, as the women in their stories were usually more passive and not as elaborate as men in their speech. However, James Joyce did not see things in the same light. The most developed female character in Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is one who speaks with dignity, passion, and the female tact which is all too often ignored in the characters of women.

    Joyce’s Dante Riordan’s words and thoughts are true to those of literate twentieth-century women. Although a short-lived character in Portrait, Dante Riordan emits an apparently important and mysterious aura, the aura of a woman, in a brief amount of time. Judging from the studies of twentieth-century linguists, Joyce’s brief representation of Dante through speech is nearly flawless. To more lucidly understand this, one must carefully examine some of the instances at which Dante speaks in her conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Dedalus, Charles, and Mr.

    Casey and re-examine the arguments she makes. Dante is introduced into the dinner table conversation as a silent character. However, when the men’s conversation turns to the misuse of the preacher’s pulpit, Dante begins to interject. All too often, women in literature remain linguistically dormant unless called upon. However, studies conducted outside the covers of a book have shown that women will interrupt a conversation to contradict a previous speaker, and do so vehemently (Coates, 193). A nice answer for any man calling himself a Catholic to give to his priest,” (Joyce, 273) states Dante as her first response. At this point, Dante has drawn herself into the conversation.

    Never speaking out of turn, Dante’s next few lines are responses to the rebuttals of Mr. Dedalus and Mr. Casey. In these lines, she defends priests, stating that it is their duty to teach, warn, and direct their flocks.

    According to the findings of most linguists, strong beliefs in religion and authority are held by women, and a desire to speak in favor of them is inherent to feminine nature. The bishops and priests of Ireland have spoken, and they must be obeyed. Linguist Jennifer Coates states that woman-speak revolves around power, and as Dante illustrates in this quote, women’s conversational style and topics of interest will usually be subconscious admissions to the idea that women must obey men and remain socially submissive. Joyce’s realistic portrayal of Dante does not end there, however. In studying the findings of linguists, it becomes clear that during the Renaissance, it was proper for a woman to be silent and a man to be eloquent. However, the increased level of female literacy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century changed this philosophy, and it is now expected that women be just as, if not more, eloquent than men.

    As Dante continues her conversation, she quotes the Bible in response to the ongoing attacks of the men at the dinner table in the presence of women and a child: Woe be to the man by whom the scandal cometh! It would be better for him that a millstone were tied about his neck and that he should scandalize one of these, my least little ones.” (Joyce, 274) Even today, it is rare in literature to find a woman allude to, let alone directly quote literature as a witty response to a verbal assault. Women have an instinctive shrinking from coarse and gross expressions and a preference for refined and veiled and indirect expressions in certain spheres (Coates, Jesperson, 126). What better way is there to describe Dante Riordan? Her primary reason for involving herself with the conversation from the start is the vile blasphemy at hand.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Hermaphroditic Joyce By Dante Essay. (2019, Jan 30). Retrieved from

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