Dubliners Summary

“The Dubliners” by James Joyce is a compilation of a set of 15 stories that revolves around the lives of the general people who live in Dublin. Each of the stories that are portrayed in the book is about specific events from the lives of Dubliners of all ages, genders and occupations. These stories individually portray a set of emotional story-telling. There are stories of demise, mystery, regrets, love, sadness and more. These specific events when read will eventually end up connecting to real life incidents and usually have something to be learned about life. The endings are mostly sad and regretful regarding different mishaps.


The Sisters

The story starts with an unnamed young boy realizing that Father Flynn, a priest is going to die sometime soon. Thus, he starts to prepare himself for his funeral. The story then fast-forwards to a discussion between his uncle and Old Cotter, a family friend of theirs. Old Cotter breaks the news of Father Flynn’s death to the family in the boy’s presence. His uncle and Old Cotter have a conversation regarding Father Flynn’s hopes and illness with the father’s sister at the funeral whilst the boy starts recollecting memories of Father Flynn.


An Encounter

This story is of the short trip made by the unnamed narrator of the story along with his accomplice from school, Mahony. They usually are intrigued by magazines that depict the wild west and often end up circulating them at school. They even end up being punished. Still, they go on a day-long trip to the shipyards and electric power station of Dublin. On the way, they face some kids, eat some food, meet a creepy man who makes sexual remarks and finally end up fleeing from the place.



The story is yet again of an unknown narrator who sits in his house reminiscing about a priest and his memories from childhood. He tries to remember how they ran behind the lanes of houses and tried avoiding some neighbors, like his friend Mangan’s sister. Being infatuated he tries to talk to her and gets to know about Araby, a Dublin bazaar from where he has to buy her some goods. Thus, he restlessly waits and barely concentrates on anything. On the day of the bazaar, he arrives late and finally buys nothing.



The story of Eveline Hill who suffers from the constant dilemma of choosing between two life choices. The first is her usual lifestyle where she has to attend to her abusive father and the second is where she could lead a good life with her lover, Frank, a sailor. She is seen reminiscing about her life with letters in her hand for her family. She prays to God to lead her path. She agrees to go with her lover on the day of departure but somehow pulls back to stay at home.


After the Race

This is the story of Jimmy Doyle, a guy whose story starts with enjoying a race in Dublin. He sits in one of the cars after a mediocre win and enjoys the moment. Next, he is dropped at home to get ready for a costly dinner at Ségouin’s hotel, a friend of his. There, he ends up having a great time. After, they meet an American named Farley, who takes them to his yacht, where he gets drunk. Intoxicated, he starts placing bets in card games and losing his fortune.


Two Gallants

The story depicts two men, Corley and Lenehan, who sit at a bar and converse. Corley steadily leads the conversation while Lenehan throws questions with obvious answers. Corley talks about his love interest, a maid who steals cigars from the mansion she works in and soon ends up making a plan to steal money from there.  Later, they meet the impressive lady, Corley and the maid successfully plots the plan while Lenehan starts contemplating about several things regarding his life. Finally, the maid ends up stealing a gold coin for them.


The Boarding House

This story depicts the ensuing drama of Mrs. Mooney’s daughter Polly and her relationship with Mr. Doran, a reputed wine merchant. The relationship starts building in Mrs. Mooney boarding houses where clerks come to stay. Polly, her daughter, falls in love with Mr. Doran who has deeply proceeded in the relationship but deep down still is unimpressed with Mrs. Mooney and her family. He plans his escape from the situation while Polly mentally grows more disturbed when her mother wants to face him for having a talk about their marriage.


A Little Cloud

Little Chandler, the character around whom the story revolves, is a petty clerk who is pretty excited about meeting his old friend, Gallaher. Gallaher is a famous newspaper writer whose life fascinates Chandler. They plan to meet up at a bar and speak their hearts out. While conversing, Chandler notices his friend’s physical and behavioral changes, his preferences in addressing people and bachelorhood where he greatly prefers monogamy. He is infatuated by Gallaher’s free life while waiting for his wife but is quickly brought back to reality by his wife.



The story of Farrington, a desperate beer lover and a job skipper who ends up facing countless disasters in a day. His day starts with a complaint and scolding from his boss for incomplete copying tasks. Enraged, he slips out to have a beer, turns up late and fails miserably at work. Filled with rage, he sells his watch for beer. He goes to the pubs where he meets his friends and thus ensues events full of mishaps at flirting, fistfights, overspending and no food at home. Reaching home, he beats his son.



Maria’s story starts with her final preparations for Halloween at her workplace, Protestant Association of the Charity. She also makes to visit her old friend, Joe Donnelly. Thus, she gets ready for her visit. She buys cakes for the kids and boards a crowded tram, where she meets a gentleman who converses with her and she bids farewell at her departure. Reaching home, she realizes that her cakes are missing and thus starts regretting. Joe quickly consoles her, the whole family plays Halloween games and finally, Maria sings a song while Joe weeps.


A Painful Case

The story is about a calculative guy and by profession, a bank cashier, Mr. Duffy. He leads a very organized life and goes to operas once a week. In one such visit, he meets Mrs. Sinico, wife of the captain of a merchant ship. Soon, they start meeting regularly and Mrs. Sinico starts taking him more seriously. Mr. Duffy on noticing the phenomenon cuts off contact with her. Four years later, he comes to know of her demise, starts blaming himself and realizes that he had lost true love.


Ivy Day in the Committee Room

This story depicts the chit-chat sessions of the canvassers of a mayoral candidate named Richard Tierney, a local pub owner. They gather to observe Ivy day remembering Charles Stuart Parnell’s death on October 6, 1891. Here, O’Connor and Old Jack start a conversation that Joe Hynes and John Henchy join later on to criticize Tierney about his activities that support both the British and the Irish. Thus, the discussion lunges deeper into political theories, Parnell and ends with the recitation of a poem dedicated to Parnell.


A Mother

The story is of Mrs. Kearney, mother to a talented pianist and speaker, Ms. Kathleen. Mr. Holohan, an assistant secretary of Eire Abu society requests Mrs. Kearney to allow her daughter to perform in their concert and she approves after sealing the payment contract. The concert, however, turns out to be disappointing and the third day is called off. She is turned down on queries of payment which infuriates her but later gets paid in half of what was promised. Further delay compels her to take her daughter away.



Tom Kernan is a businessman who falls off a flight of stairs in the pub and falls unconscious. The crowd gathers along with a policeman. Soon, a friend of his, Jack Power takes him home after he regains consciousness. There, Mr. Powers talks about his recent series of misfortunes with Mr. Kernan’s family. In the end, in a Jesuit Church, Father Purdon talks about balancing sins and good deeds in life. Inspired by this, a group of his friends tries to convince him to visit the church to which he agrees later on.


The Dead

The story depicts the happenings in a party thrown by Kate, Julia and their niece Mary Jane to observe Epiphany. It starts with their maid Lily greeting people when Gabriel Conroy and his wife Gretta enter. The party shows Gabriel trying to handle Freddy, a drunkard and Mr. Browne who flirts with young ladies. Later, in a dance, Miss Ivors meets Gabriel and starts criticizing him for his occupation and views of which he disapproves. The party ends with feasting and Gretta’s storytelling that reminds Gabriel of his mortality after reaching the hotel.