That Irish pub

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When she thinks about a good friend or someone who´s important in her life, her memories of this person is often connected with some particular places. Usually the places where they used to have a good time together. It could be a cafe, a book shop or a library. That Irish pub – The Dubliner is one of these places.

 

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They used to sit in that corner, discussing literary texts, making notes, and briefly going through the titles of the books on the shelf, in summer afternoons and winter evenings. It was here they started the discussion about the short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener” by the American writer Herman Melville. The story is considered a masterpiece of American short fiction. She was writing a review about Bartleby as part of her assignment on American literature. They explored some of the main themes of the story – the isolation in American life and workplace at that particular period of time, the physical and mental loneliness, Bartleby´s refusal to conform to social norms and his tragic death. He was impressed by her interpretation and deep understanding of the story and then unexpectedly, he said something that somehow touched her heart, he thought of himself as the modern version of Bartleby.

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His backpack was always heavy because of the weight of the books. Once he opened it and showed her the content, five or six books it turned out to be. How does he get time to read all these? She wondered. Perhaps it was for the pleasure of having some good stuff ready for a read at any time. His passion for literature wasn’t hard to notice.  On that winter evening, they sat on the floor in The Literature House while he was talking about the differences between the narrative mode “Stream of consciousness” and “Internal monologue”. She was drawn in the literary world created by his vivid illustrations, listening to these amazing narrative techniques with great intensity. Her interest for literature must have been aroused at that moment, it was the start of her literary journey.

As a part of her take-home exam in British literature, she was asked to analyse “The balcony scene” in Romeo and Juliet. Unfamiliar with Old English, she was struggling to figure out the meaning of line 10 and 11:

10. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
11. By any other word would smell as sweet;

So she sent him an email with the question: Is it a kind of metaphore? Does it mean “the type of flower, which we call “rose”, would smell sweet without being called rose?”

A reply was sent back to her shortly:”… A rose by any other name would smell as
sweet…” In this quote Juliet shows her dismay that a name can bring so much hate or so many problems when all it is only a word; a name. When she says “… a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” she means that the ‘type of flower’ called a rose could instead be called, for example, ‘old socks’, but this would not change the way it smells. Whether the ‘type of flower’ is called ‘old socks’, ‘rubbish bin’ etc. does not change the state that it smells lovely. 🙂

His words (on this occasion, his interpretation of line 10 and 11) calmed her exam nerves, and to a great extent, made her day.

Now she´s here again, alone. She´s not thinking about literature, oh no, she´s drinking her coffee, and attempting to recall those passed moments. Subtle pieces of memory appears in her mind, as if she´s watching a film in which she´s one of the main characters. It´s so faint, she´s struggling to follow the movements, to overhear the words, and to catch that smile. In any case, what she knows for sure is those moments belong to the past and will never come back.

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Author: Isabelle

Content writer / editor & Language advisor

3 thoughts on “That Irish pub”

  1. Hi Isabelle how are u? I was so busy with work lately. I actually read this post the day u posted but couldn’t find some find time to comment..
    Anyway, Irish pub! I think I had been to Dubliner in NYC cuz I recognize its name. Nice place! Like u, I have memories (good one) related to some Irish pub. Mine is called ‘Dublin’ though. It’s actually in Seoul. I used to hang out with my close friends there. We all got to know each other from work but we’re more than just colleagues now. We barely talked abt work – sort of ground rule we set up. Instead we talked abt our weekend plans, news, books, food, etc. Sadly, some of them moved to another counties so it’s not like before. Kind of miss the fun we had.. well who knows? Maybe we can re-unite one day! 🙂
    Have an awesome day!!

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    1. Thank you Ethan, I’m well. I hope things have calmed down a bit and all is fine with you. Life is hectic, it’s good enough that you take time to read the post, no worries if you don’t have time for sending me a response, your family/friends, your work and some private time for yourself are far more important than writing a comment (though it’s always a great pleasure to hear about your reflections:)
      The Dubliner brings back good memories and a sense of nostalgia. The place is associated with different things – literature, language, deep and lengthy conversations.
      Good to hear that you also have some good memories with Irish pubs, Dubline in Seoul must be a perfect place for gathering friends. Hope it’ll be a re-union party soon:) I don’t go to pubs often, but there’s a special atmosphere in pubs, warm, relaxed, and cosy. The Dubliner has a fireplace, very nice in winter. Take care. 😊

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      1. Pubs have quite different atmospheres, characteristics here in Seoul. In a way, you can say that it’s coming from the result of localization. Some foreigners get shocked sometimes haha. Hope to have a chance to talk about it with u at another time. Cheers! 😉

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