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Ivy Day in the Committee Room

An analysis of James Joyce's short story Ivy Day in the Committee Room in his novel Dubliners
by

Kevin Bi

on 8 January 2013

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Transcript of Ivy Day in the Committee Room

Ivy Day in the Committee Room By Mimee Beck, Kevin Bi and Ryan Nguyen Ambiguity/Uncertainty/Instability Conclusion/Analysis Characters Modernistic View-Suspicion , Sloth, Corruption and Greed Setting and Terms Charles Stewart Parnell Symbols Themes Born June 27, 1846
Elected to Parliament in 1875
Became accepted leader of the Irish Nationalist Movement
Transformed into National Hero after the Phoenix Park Murders
Only to be plunged into disgrace after scandal uncovered about him and his mistress Katherine O'Shea
Dies October 6, 1891, politically sidelined, death is celebrated as Ivy Day
Aversion to Green Modernism-Human faults and Greed
Simony-Sins
Epiphany- realizations
Gnomon-missing piece
Paralysis-paralysis Fire-Dying flame of Parnellism
Phoenix-Reincarnation
Alcohol/Money-Human desire, Disloyalty
Poem-Parnellism
Ivy Leaves-Symbol of everlasting remembrance-pronounced in Irish as Iodha- also means Yew which is a symbol of death
Colors Old Jack-Caretaker of the Committee House
Mr. O'Conner-Canvasser for Mr. Tierney
Mr. Hynes- Acquaintance Suspected spy
Mr. Henchy- Canvasser for Mr. Tierney
Father Keon-"Black Sheep" of the church
Mr. Lyons- Canvasser
Mr. Crofton-Canvasser The canvassers work for payment and the promise of alcohol rather than nationalistic zeal
The frequent gossip of the characters behind each others backs (esp. Mr. Henchy)
Canvassers failing to perform their job Father Keon's inability to cross the threshold and dual appearance
Highly nationalistic comments made by canvassers
Lack of loyalty towards political leaders despite working on their behalf
Bickering between the Canvassers demonstrate how precarious the situation of Ireland is Ireland left without a clear leader; divided on all levels and having nationalism die out without the charismatic presence of Parnell
The dwindling flame in the corner of the room- representative of Parnell will fire up again (phoenix)
Story mourns the death of firm Irish political action
The Idolatry of those in the present is made all the more shameful by the analysis of the past Thank You Paralysis/Simony Inability of canvassers to get work done made especially noticeable on Ivy Day
Lack of loyalty to political candidate (esp. by Mr. O'Connor)
Idolatry through dwelling on the past without action in the present; Anti-British sentiment but no action
Distrust between the canvassers-to each other, to the church, to the nobility etc.
The message of Hyne's Poem goes unnoticed with only the style being remarked upon Parnellism Fire representative of Parnell
Sheds its dim light on men who pay no respect to the memory of Parnell
A fire which it the symbol of Parnell's enthusiasm, action, creation is ignored and used for trivial purposes but the canvassers
The "uncrowned king" (Parnell) mentioned by Hynes' is likened to a phoenix-the symbol of rebirth Fire Fire-symbolizes purity, love, destruction, strong emotion, energy, assertiveness, knowledge, independence
Associated with many mythological creatures in various cultures: Vermillion bird of East Asia, Phoenix of Greek and Rome
Various philosophers (Heraclitus) credited fire as the fundamental element from which everything else arose from Phoenix Symbolism of rebirth-dies in a self-creating blaze
Associated with the sun, immortality , regeneration
Symbol of early Christianity: Resurrection of Jesus Christ
(Phoenix Park Murders) -Did Mr Tierney say when he'd be back? he asked in a husky falsetto.
-He didn't say.
Mr O'Connor put his cigarette into his mouth and began to search his pockets. he took out a pack of thin pasteboard cards.
-I get you a match, said the old man.
-Never mind, this'll do, said Mr O'Connor.
He selected one of the cards and read what was printed on it

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
ROYAL EXCHANGE WARD
Mr Richard J. Tienery, P.L.G., respectfully solicites
the favour of your vote and influence at the coming election
in the Royal Exchange Ward Mr Hynes leaned against the mantelpiece and asked:
-Has he paid you yet?
-Not yet, said Mr O'Connor. I hope to God he'll not leave us in the lurch to-night
Mr Hynes Laughed
-O, he'll pay you. Never fear, he said.
-I hope he'll look smart about it if he means business, said Mr O'Connor. He is dead. Our Encrypted King is dead.
O, Erin, mourn with grief and woe
Foe he lies dead whom the fell gang
Of modern hypocrites laid low.

He lies slain by the coward hounds
He raised to glory from the mire;
and Erin's hopes and Erin's dreams
Perish upon her monarch's pyre

In palace, cabin or in cot
The irish heart where'er it be
is bowed with woe-for he is gone
Who would have wrought her destiny -Is there any chance of a drink itself? asked Mr O'Connor.
-I'm dry too, said the old man.
-I asked that little shoeboy three times, said Mr Henchy, would he send up a dozen of stout. I asked him again now but he was leaning on the counter in his shirts-sleeves having a deep goster with Alderman Cowley.
-Why didn't you remind him? Said Mr. O'Connor
-Well, I couldn't go over while he was talking to Alderman Cowley. I must waited till I caught his eye, and said: About that little matter I was speaking to you about.... That'll be all right, Mr. H., he said. Yerra, sure the little hop-o'-mu-thumb has forgotten all about it. Old Jack raked the cinders together with a piece of cardboard and spread them judiciously over the whitening dome of the coals. When the dome was thinly covered his face lapsed into darkness but, as he set himself to fan the fire again, his crouching shadow ascended the opposite wall and his face slowly re-emerged into the light. It was and old man's face, very bony and hairy. The moist blue eyes blinked at the fire and the moist mouth fell open at times, munching once or twice mechanically when it closed. When the cinders had caught he laid the piece of cardboard against the wall... Ivy Day-October 6, 1891 in the wake of Irish political collapse
Gray, raining, miserable day within the room of the Nationalist Party once led by Parnell
Municipal elections-Usually take place in January not October
Canvasser-An individual who attempts to draw votes to a particular candidate in a political campaign The priest and his desire to not join the gathering is a symbol for the separation of the church and state that many countries pushed for. Because priests are the human representation of the church , and these men are all involved in the canvassing for Tierney, portraying them as representation of state and politics. This is a criticism of the idea of separating two bodies. -'Usha, poor Joe! said Mr O'Connor, throwing the end of his cigarettes into the fire, he's hard up like the rest of us.
Mr Henchy snuffled vigorously and spat so copiously that he nearly put out the fire which uttered a hissing protest.-
-To tell you my private and candid opinion , he said, I think he's a man from the other camp. He's a spy of Colgan's if you ask me. Just go round and trey and fine out how they're getting on. They won't suspect you. Do you twig?
- Ah poor Hoes is a decent skin, said Mr O'Connor.
-Hist father was a decent respectable man, Mr Henchy admitted....
-He doesn't get a warm welcome from me when he comes, said the old man. Let him work for his own side and not come spying around here. -What did I tell you, Mat? said Mr Hynes. Tricky Dicky Tierney.
-O, he's as tricky as they make 'em, said Mr Henchy. He hasn't got those little pigs' eyes for nothing. Blast his soul! Couldn't he pay up like a man instead of: O, now Mr Henchy, I must speak to Mr Fanning.... I've spent a lot of money?
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