A Painful Case
Another dramatic adaptation of a James Joyce short story. ‘A Painful Case’ from his book ‘The Dubliners’ was produced as part of the Reading Together series on Near FM.
Mr. Duffy, a middle-aged bank cashier, deliberately lives in an isolated suburb of Dublin. He is characterized as very meticulous and ordered and has little social contact. At a concert one night, Duffy makes the acquaintance of Mrs. Emily Sinico, a married mother. They start up a relationship that is innocent enough to be condoned by Mrs. Sinico’s husband, who believes the two’s discussions revolve mostly around his daughter and the possibility of a relationship between her and Duffy. The two draw closer together, and one night Mrs. Sinico impulsively takes his hand and presses it to her cheek, but Duffy is not pleased at the development and ends their meetings. Four years later, he reads that Mrs. Sinico has been struck by a train and killed. The newspaper article, the title of which provides the title of the story, contains an account by her husband, who states that she began drinking two years ago. The details of the accident suggest that she may have committed suicide. He reacts at first with revulsion, concluding that some inherent weakness led to her drinking and the accident, but he slowly comes to believe that it was his rejection that condemned her to solitude and death. He reflects on his own loneliness: “No one wanted him; he was outcast from life’s feast.” The story ends with Duffy listening to the silence of the surrounding night atop a hill overlooking Dublin where he and Sinico used to sit down and talk, where he realizes just how lonely he really is.