After the Race


James Joyce

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Themes and Colors
Ireland at the Beginning of the 20th Century Theme Icon
Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship Theme Icon
Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in After the Race, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Ireland at the Beginning of the 20th Century

James Joyce’s story “After the Race” was published and set at the beginning of the 20th century, when Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In practice, this political arrangement meant that Ireland was ruled by England, and English exploitation had left much of Ireland impoverished. The Irish capital of Dublin, in fact, had some of the highest inequality in the world. Given this dire situation, Irish unrest over…

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Wealth and Greed vs. Citizenship

 “After the Race” addresses the behavior and situation of the class of newly wealthy Irish during the early years of the 20th century. Although Ireland under British rule was plagued by widespread poverty, there was nonetheless an Irish business class that had arisen due to the Industrial Revolution and the globalization of trade, and which had become quite wealthy. It is this class of people that Joyce portrays and criticizes in his story. “After the…

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Capitalism, Commodification, and Amorality

In “After the Race,” James Joyce explores the ways that capitalism affects his characters behavior and perspective. The story takes place on the day of the real-life Gordon-Bennett automobile race of 1903, an automobile race through Ireland whose purpose was to show off the quality of car manufacturing of the participating countries. Set against this backdrop of competition and consumption, “After the Race” follows protagonist Jimmy Doyle on the day of the race. After driving…

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