James Joyce's “The Sisters”

Implied Pederasty and Interpreting the Inexpressible

in Boyhood Studies
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  • 1 University of Gothenburg, Sweden barry.ryan@sprak.gu.se
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Abstract

The topic of pederasty in “The Sisters” has attracted extensive commentary. In this discussion, the boy's confusion, growing up at the crux of two views of masculinity, has not been explored. Moreover, Father Flynn's nostalgic view of boyhood, and his dependency on the company of the boy, also warrants exploration. Furthermore, little has been made of the boy's antagonistic relationship with Father Flynn's sisters, as there is evidence in the story that the boy is considered corruptive. It is my contention that pederasty is not the larger issue, as in another context, this could be contested. Rather, the boundary between the boy and adults is constructed across two opposing ideals of masculinity, obliterating any possibility of contestation. Subsequently, sentient and reflexive aspects of the boy's characterization deviate from how children are viewed by adult characters in Dubliners.

Contributor Notes

Barry Ryan is a doctoral candidate at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. His research focus is children and childhood in the literature of James Joyce. Ryan has published articles on James Joyce's literature in Nordic Irish Studies, Nordic Journal of English Studies, and in two book anthologies, and a further article has been accepted for a forthcoming edition of Papers on Joyce. He has completed an MEd at University West in Trollhättan, an MSc in English literature at Gothenburg University, and is currently in the final stages of his doctoral studies in English literature. ORCID: 0000-0002-3609-1675. E-mail: barry.ryan@sprak.gu.se

Boyhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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