He doesn’t have friends, nor does he have family. He “abhorred anything which betokened physical or mental disorder” (Joyce 104). His life remains unchanged until the day he meets Mrs.. Conics at a concert they are both attending. This is where Joyce begins his use of narrative ellipsis. Joyce introduces a new character, and tells relatively nothing about her. Mrs.. Conics is married. She has one daughter, and she is around the same age as Mr.. Duffy. Mr.. Duffy runs into Mrs.. Conics three times before he musters up the courage to ask her to meet him for their fourth encounter.
This is the ginning of a new relationship; one of the first relationships Mr.. Duffy has had in quite some time, it seems. Joyce describes the nature of their relationship in full detail, “little by little he entangled his thoughts with hers… She listened to all… She became his confessor… ” (Joyce 106). However, in his description of Mrs.. Conics Joyce is more than just vague, he seems to purposely leave out basic facts about her life. We know almost nothing about this woman who seems to have captivated the main character, Mr.. Duffy. Where does she work? What is her personality like?
What does she look like physically? These are things that are left up in the air, up to the reader’s interpretation. Then just as the readers’ ideas about Mrs.. Conic’s person begin to develop, Mr.. Duffy ends their relationship at the first sign of physical intimacy. They meet one last time and Mrs.. Conics sends Mr.. Duffy all of his things back. Then Joyce moves the story along with, “four years passed” (Joyce 108). Once again Joyce leaves a major aspect of the story up to the readers’ interpretations. The reader has absolutely no idea what has happened in the last four years.
What did Mrs.. Conics do after she was rejected by Mr.. Duffy? What did Mr.. Duffy do after he rejected Mrs.. Conics? Were there other women? This is all up to the reader to decide. Whiteface intended to happen in those four years is unknown. However, the reader has the power to explore his or her imagination and think about what could have possibly happened in that time. In his short story “A Mother Joyce employs narrative ellipsis again in order to engage his audience in the Story. He tells the Story of a woman, Mrs.. Carney who has a daughter who is a talented singer. Mrs..
Carney gets a job for her daughter performing in a series of concerts organized by a man named Mr.. Holman. When the concert attendance is sub-par and the crowd seems improper Mrs.. Carney gets angry; the show is well below her expectations. She is even further angered when the decision is made to cancel one of the shows; as far as she is concerned her daughter was promised a certain amount of money and the cancellation should not affect that. She voices her concerns and is treated rudely by most of the men she speaks to. Joyce uses ellipsis in Mrs.. Carney’s final fight with Mr..
Holman. Joyce intentionally leaves out bits of one of Mrs.. Carney’s final statements, “might I, indeed? And when ask when my daughter is going to be paid I can’t get a civil answer’ (Joyce 147). As the reader you are unaware of what Mrs.. Carney has said to Mr.. Holman. Mr.. Holman responds with, “l thought you were a lady” (Joyce 147), thus making the reader wonder what else Mrs.. Carney could have said that was so unladylike. Not only does Mr.. Holman say this, he then “abruptly’ walks away from Mrs.. Carney, clearly angered or offended by her words. The entire committee condemns Mrs..
Carney’s behavior after this exhibit, making the reader more intrigued as to what she could have said. Joyce does this as a Way Of intriguing the reader, and having the reader use his or her imagination while reading the story. There are many different things that Mrs.. Carney could have said and as the reader that is completely up to you. Throughout the story Mrs.. Carney has been so passionate about making sure her daughter receives her payment; when she storms out of the theatre the audience is left wondering why. Why does she storm out after fighting so passionately throughout the entire story?