Themes and message

The main themes of the story “The Boarding House” by James Joyce are constraint and social norms along with the theme of marriage. The author’s intention is to show the way social norms can be used to constrain people and to depict how marriage is viewed by different persons.

Constraint and social norms

This theme is explored in the short story through the characters of Mrs Mooney and Mr Doran, but also through the larger social setting.

In the story, Mrs Mooney plans to use constraint and social norms to secure an advantageous marriage for her daughter. She knows that her daughter has an affair with Mr Doran, yet she leaves things to evolve up to the point where she can compel the man to marry h...

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