James Joyce Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What was always an important source of inspiration for Joyce's writing?

Family was always an important source of inspiration for Joyce's literary works; this reality went back several generations. In fact, Joyce's father, at one point, took special pride in the family's coat of arms.

2. Describe Joyce's father, John's, young life in Ireland.

John was in school briefly, but had to stop because of financial problems. He then went to work at the shipyard. He spent some time beginning medical studies at Queen's College, but, though he was athletic and a theatrical star, he had to repeat his second year and failed his third. When his father died, John inherited the estate and brought his mother into Dublin from Cork. John bought his way into a distilling company, which went bankrupt. John then went into politics and eventually was named Collector of Rates for life. He married Joyce's mother, Mary Jane Murray ("May"), in 1880, though she was ten years younger and their families opposed the marriage. They settled in Kingston.

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