32 pages 1 hour read

James Joyce

The Sisters

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1904

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Character Analysis

Narrator

The narrator is central to “The Sisters.” The story is told in the first-person point of view of the narrator, a young man who has befriended and been educated by the deceased Father Flynn. The narrator’s age is unclear; the language he uses is sophisticated, but the story doesn’t specify whether the narrator is talking about events that have just occurred or reflecting on them several years later. From context, it seems likely that the narrator is a young adult at the time of Flynn’s death. The narrator is presented as a complex character and the story’s protagonist. He is primarily characterized through his own thoughts due to the story’s first-person perspective. According to his uncle and Mr. Cotter, the narrator is bookish and was overly interested in discourse with Flynn when he was younger and should have been more inclined to “run about and play with young lads of his own age” (52-53).

The narrator is portrayed as conscious of what others think of him, almost anxious: When the uncle reveals that Flynn has died, the narrator thinks: “I knew that I was under observation so I continued eating as if the news had not interested me” (37-38).

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