Dubliners by James Joyce: A Little Cloud

A Little Cloud:

A man meets with an old friend, who has now travelled the European world. This man’s friend, Gallaher, makes him, Little Chandler, feel like “a prisoner for life” with his wife and son (p. 80). Chandler is a “pious” man and Gallaher is loose in his morals. It seems mistaken that Chandler wants to leave his wife and son to have the life of Gallaher–for Gallaher’s life seems empty to me.

These two characters talk about Paris in one seen:

–Have you seen Paris?

–I should think I have! I’ve knocked about there a little.

–And is it really so beautiful as they say? asked Little Chandler.

He sipped a little of his drink while Ignatius Gallaher finished his boldly.

–Beautiful? said Ignatius Gallaher, pausing on the word and on the flavour of his drink. It’s not so beautiful, you know. Of course, it is beautiful… But it’s the life of Paris; that’s the thing. Ah, there’s no city like Paris for gaiety, movement, excitement…(p. 71)

Our debaucher seems to not even care about beauty, let alone know anything about beauty. He cares about “fun.” He cares about money, alcohol, and floozy women, but certainly not beauty. Why would someone go to Paris except for the night life, certainly not the beauty. I think this thought process plagues our age. What use is beauty? No one asks “what is beauty?’ because the only reason to ask that question is if beauty has a purpose.

Not only is beauty of the utmost importance, but it is such a complex subject that we, as humans and as Christians, ought to investigate the question, “what is Beauty?” This is not a question that we will be able to answer easily, if at all. However, even if we cannot reach an answer, the quest for beauty is a journey worth the distance.


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