The “Dubliners” refer to a collection of short stories that were published in 1907 that outline the daily lives of common citizens in Dublin, Ireland. James Joyce, in writing these stories aimed at outline his country’s moral history. His choice of Dublin for the scene of the stories was informed by the fact that the city could be seen as the epicenter of paralysis. In essence, the short stories incorporated in the book revolve around disappointment, captivity, flaws, frustration and darkness. The first story in the collection “The Sisters” is told in first-person, but the narrator does not reveal his name, and hardly ever takes part in conversations. The sense of detached and quiet observation is reinforced in the first paragraph by the opening description of the window. “The Sister” is narrated by a boy as she reflects on the looming death of his priest friend called Father Flynn. Father Flynn is said to have been preparing the boy for priesthood. However, he develops paralysis, to which he eventually succumbs. However, questions emerge about the behavior of the priest and the role of religion. It is evident that religion, in this society, is a captor.
In this story, the narrator is held captive or feels like a captive thanks to his association with Father Flynn. As Mr. Cotter comments, a young boy should be spending his time with other boys of his age, which shows that the narrator was spending a large part of his time with Father Flynn. Even when the priest dies, the boy is unable to liberate himself from Father Flynn’s presence. This is shown by the statement where the narrator outlines that the grey face of the priest still followed him. He realized that the priest needed to confess something. The boy has underlined his desire to run away from Father Flynn, but is unable to do it. Even when he escapes to his vicious and pleasant region, he finds Father Flynn still there waiting for him.
It is worth noting that the narrator, even before he is entirely convinced about the death of the priest, he is afraid about the prospects of being haunted by Father Flynn. It is, therefore, no wonder that the boy feels somewhat set free by the death of Father Flynn. Father Flynn is used in this story as a representation or symbol of religion. The notion of religion as a captor is cemented by the statement on the reigning mood after the death of Father Flynn. After the boy saw the card that announced Father Flynn’s death, he thinks of it as strange that he or even the day did not seem to be in a mourning mood. In fact, he felt annoyed when he discovered inn himself a feeling of freedom as if he had been set free from something by the death of the priest.
In addition, the priest was always a captive of the rules that the church imposed on him. He, apparently, was knowledgeable and widely read. However, he had a guilt-ridden secret life fearing that he would be discovered. This came as a restriction on the priest as far as carrying out his priestly duties is concerned. The inner strife is manifested in the numerous mannerisms and effeminate behaviors that the narrator noticed, for example, hiding his teeth when laughing or covering his lower lip with his tongue. It is worth noting that the first sign of madness was noticed when the priest was in the confession box, which shows that the priest had numerous things that were restricted by religion.