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Clichés and Repetition in Dubliners: The Example of "A Little Cloud"

Harold F. Mosher, Jr.
Style
Vol. 25, No. 3, James Joyce's Dubliners (Fall 1991), pp. 378-392
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42945925
Page Count: 15
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Clichés and Repetition in Dubliners: The Example of "A Little Cloud"
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Abstract

The cliché dressed as metaphor attempts to hide its absence of originality, but its difference from the original metaphor suggests its own emptiness. Paradoxically, however, many of the stories in Dubliners are apparently created out of the emptiness of clichés. For example, many cultural clichés and particularly the motif of escape repeatedly generate the action of many stories. The title of "A Little Cloud" connects Chandler with the cliché "every cloud has a silver lining" that along with other clichés, repetitions, and synonyms reveals an opposition between "romantic" ideals and the reality of money. Here and in other stories repetition through synonyms (and their antonyms) establishes opposing values often modulating from positive to negative poles: in "A Little Cloud" the cliché about silver follows this course and ultimately suggests the bankruptcy of language. In the end of Dubliners, however, this repeated background of cliché serves by contrast to foreground and valorize the poetic language of Gabriel's vision.

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