The Dubliners Review; A Little Cloud By James Joyce

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A Little Cloud is a fairly decent story following a man by the name of Little Chandler as he visits his old friend Ignatius Gallagher (a character who will re-appear in Ulysses) and for the most part its not exactly ground breaking or emblematic. There’s no nationalist or other political themes laid out explicitly, no real plot or excitement. It’s just a character study and it’s not really shit so it’s a step up for Joyce, for now at least.

So our man Little Chandler is refereed to as little chandler because, well, he’s a little man. Kind of like a certain reader of Green Rover blog posts (I’m looking at you, half-man) but little Chandler has an adorable little mustache. I imagined him as a Dublin born Martin Freeman.Johns-MoustacheNow Little Chandler is a quiet man who may be severely depressed. Like our poor fellow in The Boarding House he might have also stuck his dick in a bear trap by fucking a girl and getting her pregnant, thus forcing him into an unhappy marriage. It’s never confirmed but it’s my personal interpretation. His wife is actually quite hot though, so good on for little chandler. He must be charming to some degree, or because he’s so small and pale that allows more blood to go down to the swimmers on the diving board. Down to his knees like, putting most horses to shame.

But alas Little Chandler’s big Chandler doesn’t stop him from being a depressed little fuck; “He watched the scene and thought of life; and (as always when he thought of life) he became sad” of course depression is a real bitch, I and a lot of people I know have encountered depressing thoughts and it’s important to acknowledge that there are things you can do about it. Little things like eating healthier and exercising help the body counteract microbes in the body that cause depression by producing healthy microbes that send positive signals towards the brain, engaging in therapeutic activities or hobbies help take the mind off of difficult topics and help the process of problem solving and lastly the most obvious; maintain healthy personal relationships with people and discuss your problems, a lot of the shit that can go on in your head can simply be wiped away by just talking about it. It helps to cut out bad influences and unrealistic expectations from your life as well, like I discussed previously get rid of that idea of ever finding “The One” or re-organizing your life around certain people. It’s not worth it, and obviously cut out toxic people in your life; like Rick from Rick and Morty. No amount of sugar is going to justify all that salt.

Anyway, Little Chandler is excited to meet his old friend who he hasn’t seen for eight odd years. He finishes up work and heads down to the pub where along the way he thinks about his aspirations to be a successful writer like Ignatius, who is apparently a successful journalist in London. Little Chandler concludes that to succeed in life you got to get the fuck out of Dublin, which is a sad truth for these rural areas or little islands like Ireland. There aren’t a lot of creative jobs lying around, or good jobs in general. Take architecture, there’s fuck all to do if you’re an architect in Northern Ireland. Aye you might get a library or two to build or some rich cunts house but there’s very little you can do. A lot of the buildings in Belfast and Derry are registered by the council as having historical significance and thus you can’t tear them down and build something new. The homes in housing estates are all identical and in the country there’s fuck all to do. Most people don’t really care about what their house looks like, they care about whether or not the plumbing works or if the stairs are too narrow or the doors are big enough or if the whole house can survive the rain. They don’t give a fuck about Art Deco and all that shite. It’s a real shame too, cause you could make a lot of aesthetically pleasing houses.But again most people don’t give a shit. Most people want a house with a kitchen to eat in, a toilet to shit in, a bedroom to sleep in and a garage to fuck in. That’s it.

Little Chandler gains some kind of euphoric pleasure about imagining the possibilities he could achieve by his meeting with Ignatius. About how he could publish some poems in some London newspaper with the help of Ignatius, how he could usher in some new kind of Irish poetry movement or something like that. He doesn’t go into detail, he thinks about writing poetry but we never really see anything outside of his desire to write. He never writes. Mainly because he’s a shy man, he’s too shy to read some poems in front of his wife. He has a very anxious demeanor. Possibly autistic.

Anyway, he eventually gets to the bar and meets up with Ignatius who looks like complete and utter shit. Like his hair is fading away and he looks pale and tired, blaming it on the stress of his work which demystifies his life to the reader but fails to phase Little Chandler. I don’t now why but for some reason I always imagined Ignatius Gallagher looking like Tommy Tiernan because of the way he spoke. Like he was so eccentric and energetic it almost ensures me that he’s probably dead inside. There’s a good few quotes in here, my favourite one is “Everything in Paris is gay.”

So they have a few drinks, Little Chandler being a pussy only has whiskeys that are heavily diluted. Then again it’s probably for the best because of what happens later on near the end would be so much worse if he were fucking smashed. So they talk about the lads they used to know, most of whom are either in full time employment or have gotten completely and utterly fucked. They talk about Europe and Paris and London, Chandler persists on questions about how immoral Paris is which Ignatius isn’t exactly fond of but talks about anyway. They talk about immoral cases and fucked up stories that happens in these cities which Joyce, the cunt, doesn’t make us privy to. I’m being harsh, it’s probably the publisher who said to the wonky eyed pervert “…No, we’re not printing that” but let’s continue to stress that Joyce is a very dull cunt. Perhaps he lacked the imagination?

They eventually talk about Chandler and his recent marriage and his new baby boy. Ignatius is very gracious about this topic and is ultimately very supportive of Chandler, giving him a pat on the shoulder. Chandler offers to introduce him to his wife over dinner tomorrow but he declines because he’s leaving tomorrow afternoon, Chandler pushes for introducing him quickly after their drink but Ignatius has other appointments he must meet. At this point Little Chandler comes off a little cuntish, resenting Ignatius’ apparent  patronizing actions; “Gallagher was only patronising him by his friendliness just as he was patronizing Ireland by his visit” …Lad, he’s a tabloid journalist- not the fucking pope.

This cuntishness is teased to Ignatius when Chandler pesters him about how he’ll eventually get married just like everyone else. To which Gallagher responds by saying he’ll only marry a woman with a bank account, proceeding to talking shit by claiming he can get a dozen rich European women to marry him by tomorrow. They have a final drink, Ignatius goes on about how he wants to fuck about before he sticks his dick in a bear trap, he recounts how shit it must be to be married in the final line of their encounter coming from him; “Must get a bit stale, I should think”

We cut to Chandler sitting in his hallway, holding his sleeping baby in his arms. He recounts how in his buzzed state he forgot to get Coffee to which his wife was annoyed about so she threw him the wane and fucked off down to the shops. He looks at a photo of his wife and recalls how happy she was once when he got her a sweater. But now the face is resentful, emotionless. Heartbreaking. His marriage isn’t a happy one. Chandler picks up a poetry book and begins to read but when his son begins to cry he gets impatient and angry and then shouts at him to “STOP IT!” which of course only makes things worse.

Lesson number one kids, don’t shout at babies.

His wife bursts through the door taking the kid off him. She asks him what the hell did he do; her eyes angry and hateful towards Chandler and he begins to tear up. The end. It’s a while sad ending. Not exactly fucked up but it’s one of the more fucked up endings in the Dubliners.

Analyzing this story there’s not much to see. It’s obvious that chandler is a depressed, unfulfilled man with aspirations but no apparent talent. He desires to write but he doesn’t write, ever. His idea of Ignatius Gallagher is ultimately toxic and self defeating as seen by his general appearance Ignatius is a weary man with a stressful life. I imagine he’s also quite depressed, seeing as most journalists are self loathing alcoholics. Ignatius does seem to have alcoholic tendencies seeing as how he’s always on for the drink, he might just be looking for the craic but he might not.

There’s little to no Nationalistic or Political imagery or themes in the story. Chandlers desire to become a writer is aided by his belief that he could usher in a new wave of Irish writers and poets : “The English critics, perhaps, would recognise him as one of the Celtic school by reason of the melancholy tone of his poems” so his national identity is not exactly an inhibitor in his works but more of a stepping stone to get his name out there. There’s also the fact that Ignatius Gallagher’s tie is orange, perhaps he’s a Protestant but I doubt Joyce would give out a sectarian dog whistle by suggesting that a protestant man would wear an orange tie to say “Hey, look, I’m a Prod!” which is absurd to say the least because I’ve never met a Protestant called Gallagher. Most likely, if it were to mean anything at all, Joyce shoe horns the idea that overexposure to the British will corrupt your Nationalistic Ideals. Which is probably horse shit but I imagine some cunt may interpret it that way.

On the topic of Chandler’s idolisation and then resentment of Ignatius Gallagher it’s pretty easy to explore. Ignatius is everything Chandler wants to be; free from marriage, free to travel, a successful writer and remarkably bold and charismatic. However this idolisation parallels with Chandlers own rigid and culturally conservative views, which can be seen as he pesters about the apparent immorality of Paris. The resentment comes after Chandler recognizes that through his travels Gallager has grown weary and vulgar, the straw that breaks the back is when Ignatius refuses to come back to his house to meet his wife due to other appointments. At this point Chandler becomes exceptionally more cuntish, so much so that Gallagher soon enough catches on and the evening ends politely bitter.

As we cut to the hallway scene there’s a lot of obvious things we can analyze. How Chandler’s marriage is deteriorating, my interpretation being that chandler fucked some doll and got her pregnant and is thus forced to marry a woman he doesn’t love and whom doesn’t even like him. Chandler recalls a time in which they were happy but it’s a remarkably banal moment. When Chandler reads from his book of poems the baby cries, meaning that Chandler is doomed to a life of mediocrity and possibly stating that there’s no talent behind his desire to write. He shouts at the baby, showing us that he’s not a good father and that he’s at his wits end.

The wife is furious, hateful even. It’s potential that maybe they are a happy couple but they’re going through a rough patch. With Chandler’s idolisation of Ignatius and his desire to become a writer it’s clear he desires to escape this unhappy life. While on the wife’s side we’re not privy to her hopes or dreams or anything really. Personally I think, like a lot of mothers soon after having a child, she’s suffering from Postpartum Depression. Which she feels from resentment of the baby for giving her a lot of emotional burdens on her life and interfering with her hopes and dreams and damaging the relationships around her.

Of course like I said earlier on, the best way to deal with this kind of depression is to talk about it. Which is extremely hard but is empirically vital to good mental health.

That’s it for Little Chandler. Like the rest of us he’s doomed to a life of mediocrity and disappointment, thus following the theme of disappointment present throughout the Dubliners. The alternative of course is Ignatius Gallagher, a tabloid journalist idolized by Chandler. But it’s not much of an alternative because he’s still weary and hollowed out despite his success and his talks of grandeur.

There’s spots of happiness in a sea of contentedness and  storms of depression. This may render or stir some people’s questions about the meaning of life, or if there’s any real meaning at all. Personally my perception of life is quite brutal, vulgar and even disheartening to people who can’t get it up. As organic beings we’re subscribed to every purpose and commonality with every fiber of the Universe; Reproduction and Replication. Because let’s face it. You can’t die till you fuck, and if you can’t fuck then you might as well die.

 

 

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