Restrictive routines and the repetitive

Restrictive routines and the repetitive, mundane details of everyday life mark the lives of Joyce’s Dubliners and trap them in circles of frustration, restraint, and violence. Routine affects characters who face difficult predicaments, but it also affects characters who have little open conflict in their lives. The young boy of “An Encounter” yearns for a respite from the rather innocent routine of school, only to find himself sitting in a field listening to a man recycle disturbing thoughts. In “Counterparts,” Farrington, who makes a living copying documents, demonstrates the dangerous potential of repetition. Farrington’s work mirrors his social and home life, causing his anger—and abusive behavior—to worsen. Farrington, with his explosive physical reactions, illustrates more than any other character the brutal ramifications of a repetitive existence.