Portafolios Electrónicos - Uniandes

Counterparts BY JAMES JOYCE by Juan David Barragán Méndez: FIRST THOUGHTS


After reading the short story "COUNTERPARTS", what are your first thoughts of the Irish Culture?


I believe that more than one of you has thought of the customs and beliefs of the Irish after reading the short story "Counterparts". It is my intention to highlight the strong habit of drinking, which is ingrained in Farrington's life. To what extent a habit can push you to success or to failure? It is a delicate question to answer.

To begin with, it is my belief that we should feel really proud of our typical customs, which represent the essence of our countries. We unconsciously adapted them throughout our lives and the result of them is then how we interact each other everyday. One example of this is that in Colombia is pretty common to find people, as well as in "Counterparts", drinking for whatever reason with a couple of beers or a half bottle of "Aguardiente" (a well known typical drink of Colombia) on a table in a pub, at home or simply in a small tent. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing Colombians celebrating peacefully, chuckling loudly and always inviting you to join them. That truly represents a warm and welcoming country, which tries to dismantle negative stereotypes that have taken over the reputation of Colombia throughout the years with the drug export in the nineties.

On the other hand, I agree with the statement which says: "Everything in excess is dreadful". This fatal addiction to alcohol, as it is present in Farrington's character, can definitely lead to atrocious consequences. For instance, one is the physical aggression of Farrington towards his son. It is clear to see that alcohol turns a conscious behavior into an uncontrolled one. As it is regarded in the story, the child begged his father to stop hitting him by claiming "I'll say a Hail Mary". Afterall, we can infer that it is something that Farrington could not probably do in a conscious state. To make things worse, it is something that no only occurs in Ireland. Similarly, Colombia has faced various cases of intrafamily violence due to alcohol. Thousand of cases are seen everyday in which a man beats his wife's face because she does not want to do what he desires in that specific moment.  

Thus, I do not try to devalue Irish culture at all by saying that heavy drinkers react aggressively to alcohol. On the contrary, it was my intention to express my immediate positive reaction towards this usual custom in Ireland, which is absolutely reasonable and also takes place in my country, as a habit which embraces joy and happiness. However, what is mentioned above should concern us when it attempts against the safety of others.