- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
San Jose Public Library's Online Book Club is a monthly feature that encourages readers to share and discuss a given book each month. Selections are made based on local interest and relevance.
Our selection for this month, Dubliners by James Joyce was chosen to coincide with with a similar program in one of San Jose's sister cities. During the month of April, residents of Dublin, Ireland are participating in the One City, One Book program sponsored by Dublin City Public Libraries. We invite you to share your thoughts on Dubliners not only here, but also with fellow readers across the sea.
Question for Week 3: To what extent does one's birthplace determine one's identity or destiny? Is it less of a factor with today's global economy and communications than it was when Dubliners was published nearly a century ago?
Before reading the book, I thought my answer would be that of course birthplace had a greater impact on one's life and life choices when Dubliners was written than it does today. Now I am not so sure. Even though transportation and technology have vastly improved, I think other factors sometimes have a greater impact on the choices we make. Joyce's character Eveline had the opportunity to leave Dublin and choose a very different life in another country and yet she chose to stay even though her life there held little promise of happiness. Perhaps it is not the opportunity to move, but the courage or determination to risk the unknown that is the bigger factor in how one's life plays out. My father was born in a small Midwestern farming community. He was valedictorian of a graduating class of 13. Determined to get an education, he went to college on a scholarship and later finished on the GI Bill. After graduation and marriage he accepted a teaching job in California and began a career in education far different from the lives of the friends and cousins with whom he'd grown up. I, on the other hand, had many more options open to me and yet I still live in the same city in which I was born. Is it because I had choices that I didn't need to move, or is it that, like Eveline, I was not willing to give up the familiar for unknown possibilities? What do you think? Is birthplace still as much a determining factor in one's destiny as it was when Dubliners was first published or are there other more critical factors one needs to take into account?