Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

‘The Sisters’ and ’The Sunday Following Mother’s Day’ Short Stories Comparative Analysis Essay


This article examines the short stories “the sisters” in Dubliner and “the Sunday following Mother’s Day” in Lost in the City, both of which are written by separate authors in detail. Thus, I will examine and contrast the short story summary in themes, events, and characters.


Strange and perplexing things occur in “The Sisters” and other Dubliners’ tales, and no one understands why. Despite the fact that Father Flynn died as a result of a succession of crippling strokes, indicators such as his laughing fit in a confessional box suggest that he was mentally disturbed. The reader isn’t sure what went wrong with the character. When the youthful narrator discusses his chats with Father Flynn about Church traditions, he describes the connection as spiritual, despite Old Cotter’s belief that it is imbalanced. Apart from these unusual nightmares and feelings of unease, the narrator confesses to being uneasy about Father Flynn. While Joyce offers the reader enough information about Father Flynn to make the reader skeptical of him, he does not tell the reader the whole tale. The first paragraph of the article alluded to such a technique.

When the narrator sees Father Flynn’s window, he says “paralysis,” which sounds unusual, like the term “gnomon,” which usually refers to devices that signal something, like the hand on a sundial. This is precisely what Joyce does: he gives clues and details but never the whole picture. As the novel progresses, the narrator’s experience of dealing with death and the disturbance that death produces in daily life is colored by Father Flynn’s lingering physical presence. Father Flynn has a tangible presence in the tale. As he nears death, the narrator’s thoughts drift to the body. A year after Fr. Flynn’s death, the narrator clearly remembers the lurid way his tongue rested on his lip and dreams of seeing Father Flynn’s face. These weird bodily sights suggest the unpleasantness of dying. The narrator’s recollections of Father Flynn convey a frightening presence that is terrifying and mysterious rather than beautiful and clean. In the last scene, they find it impossible to eat and drink since death frames such actions. The narrator declines the crackers offered upon seeing the corpse because he is afraid of disturbing Father Flynn, who is lying in his coffin, with too much noise (Joyce, 12).

Similarly, the narrator’s aunt refuses to discuss death with him. Her inquiries about Father Flynn’s death, but her thoughts drift away from the topic. Father Flynn may have died, but he is still very much a part of our lives. The narrator and his aunt’s incapacity to eat and talk during their visit to the sisters is reminiscent of how the narrative opens in tone and tone. All of Dubliners’ stories are related to the collection’s overarching subject of inactivity and death. Characters are put in conditions that prohibit them from acting on their wishes or taking action as if they were dying physically. In “The Sisters,” Father Flynn connects this paralysis to religion (Joyce, 8). Because religious ceremonies produce paralysis, he was unable to grasp onto the chalice he had fallen when he was put to rest. In addition, his sisters blame his death on the rigors of clerical labor. In other words, such as “Grace,” Joyce criticizes the Church’s place in the lives of Dubliners, and the debilitating character of religion resurfaces.

This narrative begins with a picture of a Dubliner peering through a window and pondering a predicament. There is a repeating symbol in this collection that acts as a reminder of the narrative viewpoint. “The Sisters,” the collection’s first of three first-person pieces, introduces us to the characters. Like in the previous two pieces, “Araby” and “An Encounter,” the narrator refuses to divulge his name or join in the dialogue. The first line’s initial picture of a window echoes the narrators’ subsequent tales’ impression of peaceful, detached observation. Joyce contends that even first-hand experience may be voyeuristic and that it is conceivable for someone to see their own life from the outside.

Madeleine Williams, who is just four years old when her father kills her mother, is at the focus of Jones’ “The Sunday Following Mother’s Day.” Maddie took in Madeleine and her younger brother Sam when Sam was ten years old. Madeleine and Sam pay frequent visits to their father in jail, but Sam refuses to talk to him while Madeleine engages him in uncomfortable conversations. Following that, Madeleine continues to write to her imprisoned father on a daily basis, despite the fact that Sam has cut all relations with him for good. Madeleine has also spent time over the years researching “the Why” of her mother’s murder by reading newspaper stories, trial transcripts, and chatting with anybody who knew her parents.

Madeleine Williams’ father violently kills her mother in front of her when she is only four years old. Maddie, their father’s sister, takes in Madeleine and her ten-year-old brother Sam until they can find a new home (Jones, 128). Madeleine and Sam pay frequent visits to their father in jail, but Sam refuses to speak with him while Madeleine has uneasy chats with him. Following that, Madeleine continues to write to her imprisoned father on a daily basis, despite the fact that Sam has cut all relations with him for good. Madeleine has also spent time over the years researching “the Why” of her mother’s murder by reading newspaper stories, trial transcripts, and chatting with anybody who knew her parents. Samuel offers to take Madeline to the residential home where her seriously handicapped son is being cared for in order for her to visit him. While her father is driving to a nearby store, his vehicle breaks down, and he is gone longer than Madeline thought. She refuses to talk with him on the return flight to Washington, DC, infuriated. Madeline, still enraged, watches him work on the vehicle as he drives up in front of her building and parks it. To avoid stumbling into him on the street at the conclusion of the narrative, she refuses to leave her apartment.

Comparison Analysis


Each of these short compositions is centered on grief and sadness. In Joyce’s book Ulysses, Father Flynn, a beloved and feared parish priest in Dublin, confronts death, which presents a fascinating image of people’s views about death. Furthermore, since Father Flynn was such a polarizing figure, his death has been interpreted in a number of ways. Everyone who is grieving the priest is feeling feelings that aren’t usually associated with grief, such as relief, disgust, and a slew of others. At the start of the narrative, the narrator is filled with both dread and apprehensive excitement as he anticipates Father Flynn’s death. “I quietly muttered to myself the phrase paralysis as I peered out the window every night,” the narrator adds. As much as it terrified me, I want to go closer to it in order to see its heinous crimes.

This paragraph reveals both anticipated and unexpected emotional responses to death. Readers should expect a character to feel afraid of paralysis but not have a voyeuristic urge to witness the condition’s consequences on his body. The conclusion of the first paragraph sets the setting for an examination of human emotions to death that extends beyond grieving.

Madeleine Williams’ mother was killed by her father when she was four years old, and her brother was murdered when he was ten years old. Because their mother is their mother, each sibling has a unique perspective on their father. On the other hand, Madeleine attempts and fails to discover why their father murdered their mother, and Sam avoids speaking with his father at all costs. She eventually becomes enraged with her sister for communicating with his father while he is imprisoned and tells her, ‘You give us the word, he said.’ He will be broken in a thousand places as soon as you give us the command. Break his hands to prevent him from ever writing again.”

In the heart, there is confusion. The narrator and others are relieved that Father Flynn has left in some ways. Father Flynn is sometimes dismissed as an anachronist because of his age and perceived insignificance to the current generation. In some respects, the priest’s death marks the end of the form of Catholicism that he practiced. According to James Joyce (Joyce, 7), the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church were out of date, and this was a critique he maintained throughout his life. Joyce asserts that the Catholic Church’s principles are obsolete while showing the priest as an old-fashioned elderly guy. They, like the priest, have reached the end of their usefulness. Despite the fact that I had learned a lot from him, the priest’s death gave me a feeling of liberation, as if I had been liberated from something, “According to the narrator. He was the one who taught me how to pronounce Latin correctly; he had gone to the Irish college in Rome. They confess that Father Flynn taught them Latin just after he admits to being pleased that Father Flynn has died, which is an unusual decision. He seems to be trying to persuade himself that Father Flynn’s death is more tragic since he learned so much from him. Even still, the narrator’s disdain for Father Flynn’s lectures is palpable. The use of Latin as a reference point is an excellent example of this. Latin as a language had long ago faded out by the time the story was written.

Jones’ narrative “the Sunday after Mother’s Day” does not seem to have a strong topic of ambivalent sentiments. Madeleine and Sam are heartbroken about their mother’s death. In this case, Andrew Jones investigates the concept of siblings who have contradictory sentiments towards their father. The two children had mixed feelings about their father in the grand scheme of things. While jailed, Sam–the authority figure’s son–opted to cut all communication with his father. Despite the fact that his father murdered Madeleine’s mother to death and was imprisoned, Madeleine maintains contact with her father while he is in prison. Madeleine and Sam see their father in jail on a regular basis, but Sam refuses to speak to him while Madeleine engages him in uncomfortable conversations throughout the meetings (Jones, 129). Madeleine has continued to write to her imprisoned father on a regular basis since then, although Sam has broken all relations with him. Madeleine has researched newspaper stories, listened to audio recordings of court hearings, and conducted interviews with family members, acquaintances, and neighbors to discover more about “the Why” of her mother’s murder. He tells her, “You give us the word; he said,” to express his annoyance with their elder sister. As soon as you give us the order, he will be broken in a thousand parts, dislocate his fingers and make it hard for him to write again’ (Jones, 131). Clearly, the two brothers and sisters had contradictory sentiments towards their father.

Reader’s perspectives on death differ. Father Flynn became paralyzed as a consequence of the several strokes that ended his life. Joyce’s only choice due to her inability to move is paralysis. The Catholic Church’s failure to adapt and stay up with the times, illustrated by Father Flynn’s immobility, is a metaphor for the Catholic Church’s own inability to do so. It is also claimed that the Catholic Church has the capacity to paralyze anyone who joins affiliated with it (Joyce, 8). Among other things, the narrator claims that Father Flynn’s death has “liberated him from something.” While not explicitly stated, this sentence implies that Fr. Flynn’s introduction to the Catholic religion had a paralyzing effect on this man. According to the report, he could not leave due to his Catholic beliefs. Joyce portrays Father Flynn as physically sick and intellectually deranged, emphasizing his contempt for the Catholic Church as a whole. A religion founded on a man as insane as Father Flynn is not just outdated and ludicrous but simply unintelligible.

Madeleine is beginning a new chapter in her life as a result of her mother’s sudden death. The brothers’ adoption by their father’s sister, Maddie, represents a new way of life in a new area. Madeleine’s mother’s death gave her a feeling of purpose, and she has spent the years after that researching newspaper stories, trial transcripts, and interviewing anybody who knew her parents (Jones, 130). Sam’s connection with his father has been irrevocably harmed as a consequence of his mother’s death. According to Jones, if Sam’s sister repeats the word, his father’s neck will be shattered in a thousand places. If she does, he will also break his arms.


The two stories are similar in specific ways, yet they are also distinct from one another in other ways. As a result, the characters and storylines of the stories are different from one another. Beyond that, there are a number of themes that run through the stories that vary based on the reader’s point of view, including death, sadness, emotions, and symbolic images. In both poems, I see themes of loss and a lack of control over one’s emotions, as well as conflicting feelings, which I find to be rather powerful. The most significant difference between the two stories is that death signifies the end of the story, but in the other, death indicates the beginning of a grim new chapter.

Works cited

Jones, Edward P. Lost in the City. Harper Collins, 2009.

Joyce, James. Dubliners. Oxford Paperbacks, 2000.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics