A Painful Case Four Levels

A Painful Case – An Analysis

A Painful Case A Short Story By James Joyce

James Joyce A Painful Case Writer
James Joyce

Four levels of A Painful case are:

Literal Comprehension

“A Painful Case” is a story composed by James Joyce. In this story, Mr. James Duffy, an alone man, lives outside of Dublin City, who works at the bank. He used to read books daily and his thoughts of man and man as well as women and women’s love are not possible because there is no sex. Another is, men and women friendship is not possible because there is a sexual relationship. One day in a concern/program he met with Mrs. Sinico. Her husband was a captain of the ship and her daughter goes outside for a music lesson at day and she is alone in her house. After, Mr. James and Mrs. Sinico used to meet regularly. They have shared their feelings, problems, happiness and they have made a good mutual relationship. They used to visit each other houses. One day Mrs. Sinico caught Mr. Duffy’s hand and press it to Mr. Duffy’s cheek. Seeing that he is become too much ethical and moral and go away from there. After a week he wrote a letter to meet once again. When they meet he made the decision that we never meet again and they separated. But, Mrs. Sinico seems too emotional, serious because she truly loves him. She is in-depth thinking and started drinking. After four years when Duffy is at the table for dinner, his eyes go to the newspaper headline, there is the death of Mrs. Sinico in the train accident because she is drunk. Seeing that he is in-depth thinking remembering the past days with Sinico, I have done a big mistake ignoring the love of Mrs. Sinico. And he blamed himself that Mrs. Sinico’s death is because of my mistakes.


This story shows the importance of love in human life, sorrowful/ painful situation due to scarcity of love, without love human life is not possible, to live a comfortable life there is need of love affection. The writer’s emphasis on spiritual love rather than physical love as well as reflects the solitary love of Mrs. Sinico to Mr. Duffy. It also taught lonely people fails to share their personal feelings, thoughts with others as well as will go into depression.

Critical Thinking

A Painful Case is impressive to read where it emphasizes spiritual love. Some questions to this story are:

  • Is it possible for Mr. Duffy to love someone’s wife to comfort his life?
  • Is it possible to find such an ethical person like Mr. Duffy in this world?
  • How can we believe that Mrs. Sinico caught Duffy’s hand and pressed it to his cheek for sexual desire?
  • How can we believe that Mr. Duffy does not like city life?


I heard that men are dishonest, immoral, unethical, they have more sexual desire than women. But after this text, I knew women are also too much unethical, immoral, they have more sexual desire as well as is not responsible towards the family. And this text reverses my thinking.

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