Essay on Analysis Of James Joyce 's ' The Dead ' And ' A Painful Case

Essay on Analysis Of James Joyce 's ' The Dead ' And ' A Painful Case

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Many people are familiar with the “light bulb moment”- the moment when one suddenly understands and everything becomes clearer. From a more technical and literary standpoint, that moment could be referred to as an epiphany. James Joyce, in his manuscript of Stephen Hero, defines an epiphany as “a sudden spiritual manifestation.” In addition, Joyce used epiphanies liberally throughout his writing of Dubliners. The epiphanies, which can be found in each short story, they are essential in shaping Joyce’s stories. Because epiphanies were used so often throughout Dubliners, their effects on the protagonists can be compared and contrasted between stories. One such is example is “The Dead” and “A Painful Case.” Though the epiphanies experienced by the protagonists in these two stories do not develop in the same way, they bring both characters to the realization that they have never, and most likely will never truly love.
At the end of “The Dead”, Gabriel has an epiphany as Greta shares her belief that Michael Fuery died for her. Gabriel begins to think about his own relationship with Greta and in doing so, he realizes that Greta would have been better off with a man who truly loved her. At the end of the Dead, the narrator describes Gabriel as watching her sleep, “as though he and she had never lived together as man and wife,” (Joyce, 240). This moment, in comparison to the seemingly endless party chatter throughout the rest of the story, plays a significant role in the text. In “A Painful Case,” Mr. Duffy experiences his own epiphany. Seeing Mrs. Sinico’s death listed in the newspaper allows Mr. Duffy to realize two things. The first is that he is responsible for her death because he pushed her away and left her in a very lonely si...


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...ally-competent individual. Despite this, towards the end of “The Dead,” the reader learns that Gabriel has also never really loved. Through Gabriel and “The Dead,” Joyce shows that even people who seem to be socially well-adjusted are not always as competent as they seem.
Like the other stories in Dubliners, “A Painful Case” and “The Dead” rely heavily on the use of epiphanies. These epiphanies shape the stories and allow the reader to learn from the protagonists. Despite the differences between their situations, Gabriel and Mr. Duffy are both brought to an epiphany by the death of someone who loved deeply. Throughout both stories, the two men struggle to feel love in the same way that others in their lives do. Because of their unwillingness to change and their fear of releasing control, Gabriel and Mr. Duffy may stay in a permanent state of emotional melancholy.

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