Throughout history, women have always aimed for a recognized place in society. Guided by their own field of knowledge and expertise, they longed to bring awareness to women's roles in any walk of life. In "The Boarding House", James Joyce describes Mrs. Mooney as a woman who is able to keep things to herself, a determined woman. Unfortunately, the behavior Mrs. Mooney portrayed is mind boggling at times. It is evident that she cares for her daughter very much; still the way she shows it is unusual. Though her conduct is sometimes unconventional, it can be contributed to different factors; her husband's physical abuse and James Joyce's biographical background.
Not only did Mr. Mooney begin to drink, but started to physically abuse Mrs. Mooney as well. James Joyce describes him as, "He began to go to the devil. He drank, plundered the till, ran headlong into debt" (Joyce 361). Shortly after his father-in law was dead, Mr. Mooney's manner apparently began to change. This emotional throbbing that Mrs. Mooney began to undertake is a major contributor to her actions of inconsistency towards her daughter. For example, Mrs. Mooney is very strict and overprotective of Polly, her daughter. Still, she allows a relationship between Mr. Doran, a gentleman at the boarding house, and Polly to develop. Meanwhile, she pretends as though she has no idea of the affair.
Not only did Mrs. Mooney behave despicably, but immorally as well. Mr. Doran and Polly were both legally consenting adults which were manipulated by society. Mrs. Mooney had no right to interfere with the personal lives of either person. Also, one might possibly argue the fact that Polly is nineteen-years-old, very flirtatious, and single, thus leaving no choice but to result to an unconventional way of uniting Mr. Doran and her daughter. After all, Mr. Doran does have a secure job; he is older and much more mature than the average person Polly's age. It is evident that Mr.