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Narration under a Blindfold: Reading Joyce's "Clay"

Margot Norris
PMLA
Vol. 102, No. 2 (Mar., 1987), pp. 206-215
DOI: 10.2307/462549
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/462549
Page Count: 10
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Abstract

Traditional allegorical readings of Joyce's Dubliners story "Clay" have tended to collude with the story's rhetorical aim of aggrandizing the figure of Maria. The estimation of the "old maid" is indeed the story's crux, and the exigencies of desire compel the manipulative textual strategies that render the story ambiguous and produce conflicting interpretations. The story thereby achieves a fine dramatization of the precarious ontology of the old maid, a dramatization in which the fragmented reader (whose ear and eye are in conflict) participates as a principal actor.

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