The Boarding House By James Joyce

398 Words2 Pages
“The Boarding House”: An Bitter Perspective In “The Boarding House” by James Joyce, Mrs. Mooney is appropriately called “The Madam”. Mrs. Mooney’s unscrupulous outlook on life forces her to become selfish in her actions. As a result, Mrs. Mooney is viewed as an intimidating and rigid entrepreneur. Mrs. Mooney’s cynical perspective compromises her relationships with others. Mrs. Mooney was previously involved in a dysfunctional marriage to a “shabby stooped little drunkard” (61). Similar to her own marriage, Mrs. Mooney indirectly forces Polly to marry for money. Mrs. Mooney is a ruthless character as a result of her previous troubles. Consequently, Mrs. Mooney’s maternal connection with Polly is non-existent, turning their relationship into a business. When Mrs. Mooney is observing Polly’s interactions with young men, she becomes frustrated that “none of [the men] meant business” and considers sending Polly back to her previous job (63). Mrs. Mooney is highly focused on her own aspirations, and therefore compromises her sense of empathy. Mrs. Mooney is a heavy influence on Polly’s actions. Mrs. Mooney acts as if she is unaware of Polly’s affair with Bob Doran; however, Mrs. Mooney and Polly share an unspoken understanding. Mrs. Mooney is the ringleader of Polly’s indecency, and manages Polly under implicit control. When Polly begins to interact with Mr. Doran, she is conscious of her mother keeping watch. Polly recognizes the intent behind her mother’s feigned ignorance, and that “her mother’s persistent silence could not be misunderstood” (63). Mrs. Mooney exploits the honour of others. Honour plays a large role in determining social opinion; therefore Mrs. Mooney utilizes this to her advantage. Mrs. Mooney manipulates both her daughter and Mr. Doran’s honour to achieve personal gain. When Mrs. Mooney is preparing to confront Mr. Doran of his
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