Four Levels of A Painful Case

A Painful Case Four Levels

Four levels of the short story A Painful Case are:

Literal Comprehension

“A Painful Case” is a story composed by James Joyce. In this story, Mr. James Duffy is an alone man who lives outside of Dublin City and works at the bank.

He used to read books daily and his thoughts about man and man as well as women and women’s love are not possible because there is no sex.

Another is, that men’s and women’s friendship is not possible because there is a sexual relationship. One day in a concert/program he met with Mrs. Sinico.

Her husband was a captain of the ship and her daughter goes outside for a music lesson during the day and she is alone in her house. After, Mr. James and Mrs. Sinico used to meet regularly. They have shared their feelings, problems, and 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 pressed it to Mr. Duffy’s cheek. Seeing that he has become too ethical and moral and goes away from there.

After a week he wrote a letter to meet once again. When they meet he makes the decision that they will never meet again and they separate.

But, Mrs. Sinico seems too emotional and 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 was drunk.

Seeing that he is in-depth thinking remembering the past days with Sinico, I have made a big mistake ignoring the love of Mrs. Sinico. And he blamed himself for Mrs. Sinico’s death thinking of his mistakes.


This story shows the importance of love in human life, sorrowful/ painful situations due to scarcity of love, without love human life is not possible, to live a comfortable life there is a need for love and affection.

The writer’s emphasis on spiritual love rather than physical love also reflects the solitary love of Mrs. Sinico for Mr. Duffy.

It also taught lonely people to fail to share their personal feelings and thoughts with others as well as will go into depression.

Critical Thinking

A Painful Case is impressive to read because it emphasizes spiritual love. Some questions about 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, and unethical, and they have more sexual desire than women. But after this text, I knew women are also too unethical, and 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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