He lived his spiritual life without any communion with others, visiting his relatives at Christmas and escorting them to the cemetery when they died. He performed these two social duties for old dignity’s sake but conceded nothing further to the conventions which regulate the civic life.
Joyce created a tormented, sad, pitiful character in this story. A loner who had just one chance to possibly gain a cheerful life, not only has he let it go, he also became the cause of a tragedy. That was supposed to cover him complete darkness, to make him even more sad and alone, yet can we belive it really did? Does it matter after a certain point? Is it the case that there is always possibility of going even lower? I’m not so sure. Joyce plays with time in an interesting way, the accident takes place few years after the affair had ended. Having said that, what kind of blow is it? Not a sudden surpirise nor a disappointing coincidence, but it is surely painful. Why? How? Powerful novel framed by subtle grey shadows.