After the Race

by

James Joyce

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Jimmy Doyle Character Analysis

The story’s protagonist is a young Irishman named Jimmy Doyle. Jimmy is twenty-six years old and has a brown moustache and “rather innocent looking grey eyes.” Jimmy’s father is a wealthy man, whose money supported Jimmy through his education: first at a Catholic college in England; then at Dublin University for law; and lastly at Cambridge for a term. It was at Cambridge that Jimmy met the Frenchmen Charles Ségouin, in whose car Jimmy rides for the first half of the story, although it is made clear that the two men are “not much more than acquaintances.” Jimmy was never a serious student, and instead spent much of his time socializing within “motoring circles.” Although he has made some smaller financial blunders in his life, he believes that his knowledge of how much work goes into making money will prevent him from making any truly disastrous mistakes. With his father’s blessing, he is planning on investing in Ségouin’s not-yet-founded motor car company, from which he hopes to make a lot of money. Jimmy enjoys the notoriety he attracts from being with his continental European acquaintances, and it is suggested that he feels that these European associations set him apart from other Irish people, even as his outburst about politics while drinking with the Englishman Routh indicates that he feels that the Irish should be taken more seriously by other European powers. The story depicts Jimmy as insecure about his standing within the broader world as a wealthy Irishman—rather than feeling confident, he is always looking for indications of his own worthiness, whether in the admiration of his countrymen or the attention of European continentals. Throughout, the story subtly implies that this insecurity is leading Jimmy toward disaster; in fact, the story suggests that Jimmy himself vaguely senses this, but can’t do anything to stop it. As Jimmy goes through the evening with his continental acquaintances—eating dinner, giving speeches, talking politics, and playing cards—Jimmy seems to be being humored and exploited; and to be exploiting himself to get the affirmation he needs. In its ending, when a hopelessly drunk Jimmy hopes to escape into sleep from the thought of his substantial losses in cards, only to find that it is already dawn, the story suggests that Jimmy’s desire to be accepted among the continentals is an unsustainable path that will lead to his ruin. Jimmy can also be seen as being a symbol for both the general Irish populace, and specifically for the Irish upper class—and a criticism of the self-hating traits that Joyce saw in his fellow Irish citizens.

Jimmy Doyle Quotes in After the Race

The After the Race quotes below are all either spoken by Jimmy Doyle or refer to Jimmy Doyle. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Ireland at the Beginning of the 20th Century Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of After the Race published in 1993.
After the Race Quotes

Rapid motion through space elates one; so does notoriety; so does the possession of money. These were three good reasons for Jimmy’s excitement.

Related Characters: Jimmy Doyle
Related Symbols: Car
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

Jimmy set out to translate into days’ work that lordly car on which he sat. How smoothly it ran. In what style they had come careering along the country roads! The journey laid a magical finger on the genuine pulse of life and gallantly the machinery of human nerves strove to answer the bounding courses of the swift blue animal.

Related Characters: Jimmy Doyle
Related Symbols: Car
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

Near the bank Ségouin drew up and Jimmy and his friend alighted. A little knot of people collected on the footpath to pay homage to the snorting motor.

Related Characters: Charles Ségouin, Jimmy Doyle, Villona
Related Symbols: Car
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

In Jimmy’s house this dinner had been pronounced an occasion. A certain pride mingled with his parents’ trepidation, a certain eagerness, also, to play fast and loose for the names of great foreign cities have at least this virtue.

Related Characters: Jimmy Doyle, Jimmy Doyle’s father
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

Jimmy, whose imagination was kindling, conceived the lively youth of the Frenchmen twined elegantly upon the firm framework of the Englishman’s manner. A graceful image of his, he thought, and a just one.

Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

Jimmy, under generous influences, felt the buried zeal of his father wake to life within him: he aroused the torpid Routh at last. The room grew doubly hot and Ségouin’s task grew harder each moment: there was even danger of personal spite. The alert host at an opportunity lifted his glass to Humanity and, when the toast had been drunk, he threw open a window significantly.

Related Characters: Jimmy Doyle, Routh, Charles Ségouin
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

Play ran very high and paper began to pass. Jimmy did not know exactly who was winning but he knew that he was losing. But it was his own fault for he frequently mistook his cards and the other men had to calculate his I.O.U.’s for him. They were devils of fellows but he wished they would stop: it was getting late.

Related Symbols: The Card Game
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

It was a terrible game. They stopped just before the end of it to drink for luck. Jimmy understood that the game lay between Routh and Ségouin. What excitement! Jimmy was excited too; he would lose, of course. How much had he written away?

Related Characters: Jimmy Doyle, Charles Ségouin, Routh
Related Symbols: The Card Game
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

He knew that he would regret in the morning but at present he was glad of the rest, glad of the dark stupor that would cover up his folly. He leaned his elbows on the table and rested his head between his hands, counting the beats of his temples. The cabin door opened and he saw the Hungarian standing in a shaft of grey light:

—Daybreak, gentlemen!

Related Characters: Villona (speaker), Jimmy Doyle, Villona
Page Number: 41-42
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire After the Race LitChart as a printable PDF.
After the Race PDF

Jimmy Doyle Character Timeline in After the Race

The timeline below shows where the character Jimmy Doyle appears in After the Race. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
After the Race
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
...Villona who is still feeling content from his delicious lunch. The final man is named Doyle, and he is “too excited to be genuinely happy.” (full context)
Ireland at the Beginning of the 20th Century Theme Icon
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
Doyle, whose first name is Jimmy, is an innocent-eyed twenty-six year old who comes from a... (full context)
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
Jimmy also spent one term in Cambridge to “see a little life,” and it is there... (full context)
Ireland at the Beginning of the 20th Century Theme Icon
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
...who are in the front seat, are speaking in French and laughing to each other. Jimmy, who is in the backseat with Villona, has a hard time understanding what they are... (full context)
Ireland at the Beginning of the 20th Century Theme Icon
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
Jimmy’s excitement comes from three sources: the speed from driving, the notoriety he has gained from... (full context)
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
Jimmy is confident in the large investment he is about to make in Ségouin’s company. Ségouin... (full context)
Ireland at the Beginning of the 20th Century Theme Icon
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
When they arrive in Dublin, Ségouin drops Jimmy and Villona off at the bank. The car draws lots of attention from passersby, who... (full context)
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
At the Doyle household, Jimmy’s dinner with Ségouin is viewed as a special occasion. While his parents are... (full context)
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
The dinner with Ségouin is delicious and confirms Jimmy’s confidence in the Frenchman’s sophistication. At dinner, the four men are joined by an Englishman... (full context)
Ireland at the Beginning of the 20th Century Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
After the dinner, Ségouin, Jimmy, Rivière, Routh, and Villona take a walk by Stephen’s Green (a public park), where they... (full context)
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
...the cabin. He plays waltzes and songs for square dancing while the other men dance. Jimmy merrily joins in and thinks that “this [is] seeing life, at least.” Eventually, Farley gets... (full context)
Ireland at the Beginning of the 20th Century Theme Icon
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
Jimmy, Ségouin, Rivière, Farley, and Routh begin to play cards while Villona plays the piano. The... (full context)
Ireland at the Beginning of the 20th Century Theme Icon
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
At this point, Jimmy feels terrible about the game. He is dimly aware that the leading winners are Routh... (full context)