As famous American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway once said, "It [is] easier to live under a regime than fight it. " Hemingway is saying here that living the controlled life is easier than living the adventurous life. In Dubliners by James Joyce, we venture into the lives of four subjugated individuals living in the city of Dublin, Ireland. The people in these stories each have different regimes in which they live by. However, their longing for adventure sparks epiphanies in their minds as they realize that their lives thus far had been monotonous. Through these interpretations of life, Joyce articulates a culture of paralysis to the reader; he expresses this paralytic culture by showing the oppressive influence Ireland has over Little Chandler, and James Duffy, the contradictions of duties to family and to self in Eveline, and the self-consciousness the past creates in Gabriel Conroy. .
In order to understand what is oppressing these characters, it is important to first describe the historical background of Ireland. Ireland had known many centuries of economic and cultural impoverishment, political suppression, and religious conflict from the Middle Ages until Joyce's day, and these hardships were especially harsh for Irish Catholics. Though Joyce's fiction is set in contemporary times, the social situation of which Joyce complains had its roots deep in Irish history. To one degree or another, the Irish had been considered subjects of the English throne since the twelfth-century reign of the English regent Henry II, which implies that since the twelfth century Ireland had been controlled by English rule. The fact that Ireland was unable to make decisions on their own for centuries while they were under English rule connects to Joyce's stories of oppression and paralysis displayed by his characters. .
Due to the oppressive influence Ireland has over its people, the story of Little Chandler is told.