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The Grotesque Machinery of the DublinersJoyce describes the spiritual poverty of the people of Dublin in the industrial age with powerfulimages of mechanized humans and animated machines In After the Race and Counterparts he delineates characters with appropriate portraits of human automation Machines seize human attributes and vitality in opposition to the vacuous citizens of Irelands capitalist city Joyces use of metaphorical language brings to life the despair of his countryIn Winesburg Ohio Sherwood Anderson writes an allegorical account of the failure of mankind 1919 Although Anderson depicts rural life in the New World his understanding of human nature and descriptive terminology provide a valuable framework for examining Joyces rendition of urban misery in the Old World The Book of the Grotesque the opening piece of Andersons short story collection animates the thoughts of a dying old man It was his notion that the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself called it his truth and tried to live his life by it he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood 24 Penguin Edition This notion that belief in a single truth or paradigm distorts people such that they become warped and can no longer function as human is central to Joyces characterizations of the Dubliners Twentieth Century Homo sapiens can be distinguished from machines by their potential to think openly and consider myriad ideas without being paralyzed by a singular absolute When people clutch an idea and transform it into an ideal the separation between man and machine becomes blurred Human automatons mechanically follow the programming of their truth In After the Race the Irish are consumed with the Continent as a superior place of affluence and culture They seek an escape from the dreariness of Dublin but mistakenly idealize mainland Europe as a vessel for their dreams of transcending the ordinary With this idea of a utopia across the
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