The Static Structure

“The perpetually oscillating patterns of sense- and memory-data, their powerfully charged -but aimless and directionless- fields of force, give rise to an epic structure which is static, reflecting a belief in the basically static character of events”  (Lukacs 1218).

What Lukacs seems to be arguing here, is the use of extraneous detail, which is usually found throughout Joyce’s work, as static. Static meaning a lack in movement, action, or change. One can even go so far as to say uninteresting (Google). But I disagree with this statement, as I think these additional details add/ build upon the characters of the story. It doesn’t just put the story on hold, nor does it seem to go on and on. For example Old Cotter’s caricature, “He began to puff at his pipe, no doubt arranging his opinion in his mind. Tiresome old fool! When we knew him first he used to be rather interesting, talking of faints and worms; but I soon grew tired of him and his endless stories about the distillery” (Joyce 3). The bashing of Old Cotter brings to mind what Dubliners is all about. If this extra detail isn’t layered on, such as the “interesting talk of faints and worms”, then what is the point of writing a story that is supposed to  exemplify life in Dublin?

Joyce, James. Dubliners. Edited by Jeri Johnson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Lukacs, Georg. “The Ideology of Modernism” The Critical Tradition. 3rd ed. Richter, H.
David. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2007. 1218. Print.