Joyce explained the unity of the stories in Dubliners as representing the city in "four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life". The stories are arranged in the following way: the first three - The Sisters, An Encounter and Araby - fall into the category of childhood; the following four - Eveline, After the Race, Two Gallants and The Boarding House - represent the phase of adolescence; A Little Cloud, Counterparts, Clay and A Painful Case represent the phase of maturity; and Ivy Day in the Committee Room, A Mother and Grace are concerned with the aspect of Public Life. The final story The Dead was not included when Joyce devised this plan for the book. It does not, in any case, belong to any of these categories, forming a separate category in its own right.

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