Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Marsh, Kelly

Committee Member

Dodds, Lara

Committee Member

West, Robert

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of English


My thesis analyzes James Joyce’s engagement with Catholic-nationalist Ireland’s (mis)understanding of women in Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses. I argue that, while Joyce shows both men and women struggling against the constraints of Catholic-nationalist gender roles, he implies that neither can be free from those constraints until Irish artists seek to more thoroughly understand women. After explaining how Catholic-nationalist rhetoric influenced the Irish understanding of women, I argue that Joyce not only recognizes and engages with Irish gender oppression but also believes that Irish art both constructs and is constructed by this oppression. With analyses of some of Joyce’s female characters, Stephen Dedalus, and Molly Bloom, I demonstrate how Joyce critiques Irish culture’s concept of women and Irish art’s representation of them, and then establishes a new paradigm of artistic representation.