This short story, 16 pages long, is 9th in James Joyce's collection Dubliners. Although the entire story can be read here, I will just make a short comment on it.

The story revolves around two characters: Little Chandler, and Ignatius Gallagher. They were friends when they were younger, but Little Chandler, despite his literary leanings, has settled into the life of a married man. He still has dreams, however, evidenced by the fact that he composes little literary reviews for the poems he wants to write in his head as he strolls down the streets of Dublin. He goes to meet his friend Ignatius, who has returned to visit Dublin after years traipising around The Continent.

Chandler envies his friends expierience, but at the same time is repelled by the looseness of morals that his friend has picked up after leaving Ireland.

This story deals with the same themes as the other stories in Dubliners: inability to make decisions and break free of the cages of life, and exile from Ireland. Although I am not up on all the multiple layers of symbolic meaning in Joyce, to me this story can be read on its own, because it resonates with my experience, and not just because I go around writing little reviews for my succesful future literary works, either. The mingled feelings of wanting to impress others while secretly wanting to be yourself are probably familiar to us all. This story is so funny, and so sad, because it is so true.

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