Theme Of Sonder In James Joyce's The Dubliners

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Humans are a very mental species - not mental as in insane, but mental as in trapped in our own minds. With only one set of eyes to see, one set of hands to create, one brain to think and problem-solve, oftentimes humans have difficulty not just seeing the world from another’s perspective, but acknowledging the other perspective at all. The word sonder is described as the realization that each person passing by is living a life just as complicated and vivid as one’s own, and is a common theme throughout James Joyce’s The Dubliners. From Gabriel’s judgmental attitude in “The Dead” to __________’s ______________ in “___________________,” we see characters come to realize the complexity of the lives of those around them, and how when those two lives clash…show more content…
At an annual Christmas party, Gretta became quite enamored with a particular song, later revealing that she had heard it often, long ago, from her late love. This, of course, came as a shock to the oblivious Gabriel, who had spent the majority of the night reading his wife’s behavior as lust, and returning in kind. “The smile passed away from Gabriel’s face... the dull fires of his lust began to glow angrily in his veins” (172). Joyce uses fire and flame-related diction to convey how Gabriel had misread the situation at hand. Never before had he pictured something so tragic, something as inherently human as death to have happened to somebody so close to him. The awareness of his own ignorance is so powerful, he finds it difficult to fully grasp. But at the end of it all, he once again thinks of only himself, reclusing into his own emotions of confusion and hopelessness and longing. The story ends with no real answer as to Gabriel’s fate - now armed with the knowledge he doesn’t love his wife, and that her first love had died for her, it could very well be that he took his own life, but the reader never truly knows for
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