A Painful Case (Joyce)

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A Painful Case
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A solitary man formed a deep bond with a married woman, but ended their relationship when she misinterpreted his feelings; years later, he learned of her tragic death and regretted his actions.

James Duffy was a man who lived a solitary life in Chapelizod, a suburb of Dublin. He was a cashier at a private bank and had a strict daily routine.

Mr. James Duffy — narrator; solitary, saturnine, orderly; lived a simple, adventureless life.

He had no friends or family, and his only interests were reading and attending concerts. One day, he met a woman named Mrs. Sinico at a concert, and they began to spend time together.

Mrs. Emily Sinico — married woman; intelligent, sensitive; developed a deep bond with Mr. Duffy.

They shared their thoughts and ideas, and James felt that he was becoming a better person because of their relationship.

However, one night, Mrs. Sinico became emotional and grabbed James's hand, pressing it to her cheek. James was shocked by this display of affection and decided to end their relationship. They met one last time in a park, where they agreed to part ways. James returned to his solitary life, and four years passed without any contact between them.

One evening, James read a newspaper article about the death of Mrs. Sinico. She had been hit by a train while trying to cross the tracks at Sydney Parade Station. The article revealed that she had become an alcoholic in the years since their relationship ended. James was devastated by the news and felt guilty for abandoning her.

He began to feel ill at ease.

He wondered if he could have done anything differently to prevent her tragic end.

As he walked through the park where they had last met, James felt a deep sense of loneliness and regret.

He felt that he was alone.

He realized that he had denied Mrs. Sinico the love and happiness she deserved, and in doing so, had sentenced her to a life of misery and a shameful death. He felt that he was now an outcast from life's feast, and the memory of Mrs. Sinico haunted him as he walked alone through the dark streets of Dublin.