A Painful Case | Flax Golden Tales | Four Levels of Interpretation

Level: B.A/ B.B.S || Lesson 46 A Painful Case (James Joyce, Ireland 1882-1941)

Words Meaning

Cause = reason

Pretentious = showy

Somber = dark

Distillery = wine factory

Shallow = not deep

Lofty = very high

Sheaf = bundle

Inscribe = write

Paste = stick

Fragrance = smell

Unnamable = unfriendly

Roam = wander

Stout = strong

Cemetery = grace

Swoon = faint

Concede = admit

Convention = tradition

Deserted = silence

Prudence = intelligence

Entrusted = handed

Wear away = disappear

Intercourse = contact

Collapse = down fall

Encumber = hinder

Prop = lean

Isolation = loneliness

Reiterate = to repeat

Struine = in despair

Corroborate = confirm

Abhor = hate

Allude = hint

Pound = strike

Tawny = brownish

Outburst = explosion

Fringe = edge

Exalt = enjoy

Slacken = to weaken

Sacred = pure

Furtive = secret

Venal = corrupt

Evoke = excite

Summary

Mr. James Duffy worked in a bank and lived in Chapelizod. Chapelizod is an old city. He had taken room in old dark house. It was near Dublin. From the room of his house, he could see the whole city-Dublin. Sometimes he used to write in the paper when something important came in his mind. He wasn’t smart person. He walked fast along the streets. He worked in his office from 10 to 4 and had dinner in an eating-house and then travelled home. He didn’t have any friendship and didn’t go to church.

Once he also thought robbing the bank. One evening he was at concert. He saw women at concert. Then were-Mrs. Sinico and her daughter. Sinico was very beautiful. James Duffy met her at next concert. At next concert he got chance to be familiar with her. Mrs. Sinico also invited Duffy at her house. Mrs. Sinico’s husband thought that Duffy would be good match for his daughter. After that Mrs. Sinico and Duffy shared their happiness at different for his daughter places. They started to walk together. Duffy offers her some books to read. Once Mrs. Sinico caught his hand and put his hand on her own cheek. He surprised and he didn’t meet her for a week. Then Duffy wrote a letter to meet him at a park gate where they agreed not to meet each other.

After four years, while he was eating, he saw a piece of news in the paper. He put his fork back on his plate and read. At home again he read the newspaper and knew that Mrs. Sinico got accident and was killed. He knew that before her death she had become restless due to separation form Duffy. Then Duffy knew that he was the cause of her death. She had become frustrated because neither she could fulfill her sexual desire with Duffy nor she could be virtuous lady in the eyes of her husband. When Duffy realized his weakness and went to drink at night. He couldn’t sleep.

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Four Levels of Interpretation

Literal Comprehension

Mr. James Duffy worked in a bank and lived in Chapelizod. Chapelizod is an old city. He had taken room in old dark house. It was near Dublin. From the room of his house, he could see the whole city-Dublin. Sometimes he used to write in the paper when something important came in his mind. He wasn’t smart person. He walked fast along the streets. He worked in his office from 10 to 4 and had dinner in an eating-house and then travelled home. He didn’t have any friendship and didn’t go to church.

Once he also thought robbing the bank. One evening he was at concert. He saw women at concert. Then were-Mrs. Sinico and her daughter. Sinico was very beautiful. James Duffy met her at next concert. At next concert he got chance to be familiar with her. Mrs. Sinico also invited Duffy at her house. Mrs. Sinico’s husband thought that Duffy would be good match for his daughter. After that Mrs. Sinico and Duffy shared their happiness at different for his daughter places. They started to walk together. Duffy offers her some books to read. Once Mrs. Sinico caught his hand and put his hand on her own cheek. He surprised and he didn’t meet her for a week. Then Duffy wrote a letter to meet him at a park gate where they agreed not to meet each other.

After four years, while he was eating, he saw a piece of news in the paper. He put his fork back on his plate and read. At home again he read the newspaper and knew that Mrs. Sinico got accident and was killed. He knew that before her death she had become restless due to separation form Duffy. Then Duffy knew that he was the cause of her death. She had become frustrated because neither she could fulfill her sexual desire with Duffy nor she could be virtuous lady in the eyes of her husband. When Duffy realized his weakness and went to drink at night. He couldn’t sleep.

Interpretation

The writer tries to show that a woman has more sexual desire than man. They can’t express their sexual desires but they suffer by these desires. On the other hand man can express their sexual desires easily. If someone quenches their sexual desire, they forget everything though they have their children and husband. They don’t think whether something is good or bad to fulfill their lust. The writer presents Mrs. Sinico who was in her early forties, she had her young daughter and her own husband but wanted to keep sexual inter course with Mr. Duffy. She presses Duffy’s hand on her cheek but Duffy surprises for these immoral behaviors of Mrs. Sinico. He might have thought about her daughter, husband and her social status but Mrs. Sinico didn’t think about her status and family members. She likes to enjoy going to parties, parks, theaters with him.

This shows a woman only thinks about present. This text also shows that the husband and the wife should be together. Women shouldn’t be left alone. Their thirst of love, Passion and bodily desire should befulfilled. So that they remain with their husband and become happy otherwise they become uncontrollable like Mrs. Sinico. Much attention should be given to women. The writer doesn’t like showy modern life.

Critical Thinking

This text is written in simple language. I also agree with the writer that generally women don’t express their bodily desires. They make their lovers understand their feeling. If their partners or lovers don’t understand, they go for another person or commit suicide. But the writer says that Mr. Sinico didn’t think that there is something wrong between his wife and Duffy. Similarly, he says that Duffy became angry when Mrs. Sinico caught Duffy’s hand and pressed on her cheek. I don’t think so. Because if a woman or a girl catches one’s hands and presses on her cheeks, he will really understand that she wants him. But there writer presents Mr. Duffy as an introvert. He couldn’t understand her sexual desire. Here I don’t agree with the writer because everyone understands others feeling or desires.

Assimilation

When I read this story I remembered about an event that took place in my neighboring village. There was a lady who used to live away from her in laws. Her husband worked in Delhi. She had two sons and one daughter. The son used to read in class 4. She used to go market to sell milk to support her children. Her husband also used to send her lots of money but she didn’t stop selling milk. Her husband hadn’t returned home for 3 years. One day it was known to all the villagers that she had become pregnant though her husband wasn’t at home. First her in-laws new this and informed her husband and he came from India. When he came home, he knew that two shopkeepers had made her pregnant. She said that they had sexual intercourse with her regularly for six months. At that time there weren’t contraceptives. After this two shopkeepers were asked to marry with her but they didn’t agree. Her husband didn’t allow her to stay with him. Then she was forced to marry with a widower in nearby village. She had to stay away from her children and first husband. She is still staying with that widower. Her children are at college. When she sees her own children, tears fall form her eyes and tries to stay with children but there isn’t easy for her to do so. She had also got two daughter form the second husband. The first husband didn’t marry again. He lives with his children and parents and sometimes goes to India to earn money. When I see his children, I also feel sorry for them.

Possible Questions

  1. Retail the plot of the story, “Painful Case” in one paragraph.
  2. How does the story The Great Answer show Hitler’s autocracy and cruelty in France.

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