The cultural role in marriage

“It was cold autumn weather but in spite of the cold they wandered up and down the roads of the Park for nearly three hours. They agreed to break off their intercourse: every body, he said, is a bond to sorrow. When they came out of the Park they walked in silence toward the tram; but here she began to tremble so violently that, fearing another collapse on her part, he bade her good-bye quickly and left her.”

-Joyce, J. (1914). A Painful Case. In Dubliners (p. 136). essay, Grant Richards LTD.

In this passage, Mr. Duffy and Mrs. Sinico have been involved in an affair for an undetermined amount of time (simply stating their first meeting was the ‘first of many’ (Joyce 134)). She encourages his thoughts on social revolution, discussed books and music, and embraced each other physically and sexually. They were in a complete relationship, all while noting that her husband, the Captain, was not around and not fulfilling her needs. Despite Mr. Duffy and Mrs. Sinico clearly having more possible, they abruptly end their affair, and stop talking. The culture surrounding marriage, and particularly divorce, was not good at the time. It would not have been a good idea for Mrs. Sinico to leave her husband, because such a thing was frowned upon to an extreme. It’s this very culture that leads the two to cease their contact, despite enjoying their time together. This could potentially even be extrapolated further, when looking at her eventual death and wondering if it really was an accident.