In his short story The Dead, James Joyce creates a strong contrast between Gabriel, who is emotionally lifeless, and the other guests, who are physically aging and near death. Though physical mortality is inevitable, Joyce shows that emotional sterility is not, and Gabriel ultimately realizes this and decides that he must follow his passions. Throughout the story, a strong focus on death and mortality, a focus that serves as a constant reminder of our inevitable end of physical life, is prevalent in Joyce's selection of details. In the story, the unconquerable death ultimately triumphs over life, but it brings a triumph for the central character, not a loss. Despite the presence of death, the characters’ passions and individuality oppositely flourish, an irony that Joyce dares to make humorous.
Every year Kate and Julia Morkan, two aging sisters, hold a dinner party at their house in Ireland for their relatives and music students and peers. The two ladies, often referred to as Aunts because of their relationship to the main character Gabriel Conroy, make sure to have a festive event full of dance and rich in food, although they are not wealthy. The story begins at the commencement of this party, and we first learn about Lily, the youngest person in the story, who serves as the housemaid. She is described as a growing girl, but also as "pale in complexion," indicating weakness and frailty. Even her "tagname, that of the funereal flower, serves as a symbol of death." Joyce comically describes the busy girl with a "hyperbolic figure of speech (‘run off her feet’), which although figurative, is offered to the reader to be accepted ‘literally,’" (Benstock 165) hinting at pending death. ...
... middle of paper ...
... Gale, 1990. 239-245.
Friedrich, Gerhard. "The Perspective of Joyce’s ‘Dubliners.’" College English (March 1965) Vol. 26 No. 6. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism Vol. 35. Detroit: Gale, 1990. 166-169.
Handy, William J. "’Joyce’s ‘The Dead.’" Modern Fiction: A Formalist Approach. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism Vol. 35. Detroit: Gale, 1990. 183-189.
Joyce, James. "The Dead." The Dubliners. Rpt. in The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W W Norton & Company. 2345-2373.
Magalaner, Marvin, and Kain, Richard M. Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 1990. 222-224.
Walzl, Florence L. "Gabriel and Michael: The Conclusion of ‘The Dead.’" James Joyce Quarterly (Fall 1966) Vol. 4 No.1. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 1990. 233-239.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... While the conversation between him and Miss Ivors may have been short, his words display his short temperament and his disdain for Ireland and Irish Culture. Gabriel later reveals more of his personality during his speech at dinner. He is asked to speak openly on his thoughts about the dinner party as a whole as he does every year during the holidays. During the latter half of his speech, he states “’I fear that this new generation, educated or hyper-educated as it is, will lack those qualities of humanity, of hospitality, of kindly humour which belonged to an older day’” (13).... [tags: Love, Short story, James Joyce, The Dead]
1183 words (3.4 pages)
- James Joyce, “The Dead” 1914 takes place during the feast of Epiphany on January 6. At the party Kate and Julia Morkan eagerly await Gabriel Conroy, their favorite nephew and his wife Gretta. Gabriel is a well educated man who is isolated throughout the party by the situations he encounters. Joyce uses situations and key points, for example, his education and encounters between characters to show how isolated he has and is becoming from the rest of society throughout the celebration. Although, Gabriel doesn 't realize his isolation between himself and the rest, it is clear to the reader that he is being alienated from society.... [tags: Dubliners, James Joyce, The Dead]
1671 words (4.8 pages)
- Exchanging Love for Death in Eveline Like "Araby," "Eveline" is a story of young love, but unlike Mangan's sister, Eveline has already been courted and won by Frank, who is taking her away to marry him and "to live with him in Buenos Ayres" (49). Or has she. When she meets him at the station and they are set to board the ship, Eveline suddenly decides she cannot go with Frank, because "he would drown her" in "all the seas of the world" (51). But Eveline's rejection of Frank is not just a rejection of love, but also a rejection of a new life abroad and escape from her hard life at home.... [tags: Dubliners Essays]
831 words (2.4 pages)
- An Analysis James Joyce’s “The Dead” There have been many prominent authors in the past years. These authors shaped the style of writing one knows today. James Joyce is known as one of these prominent authors. In fact, Janet Witalec the editor of Short Story Criticism points out that “Joyce is considered one of the most influential literary figures of the first half of the twentieth century” (194). This quality is due to works such as “The Dead.” “The Dead” is similar to many of his works. James Joyce’s “The Dead” is a typical work in setting, modernist form, epiphanic form, and a departure in tone.... [tags: Dubliners, James Joyce, The Dead, Ulysses]
1133 words (3.2 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Dubliners, James Joyce, Epiphany, The Dead]
1188 words (3.4 pages)
- James Joyce's The Dead In The Dead, James Joyce lets symbolism flow freely throughout his short story. James Joyce utilizes his main characters and objects in The Dead to impress upon his readers his view of Dublin’s crippled condition. Not only does this apply to just The Dead, Joyce’s symbolic themes also exude from his fourteen other short stories that make up the rest of Joyce’s book, Dubliners, to describe his hometown’s other issues of corruption and death that fuel Dublin’s paralysis. After painting this grim picture of Dublin, James Joyce uses it to express his frustration and to explain his realistic view that the only solution to the issues with Dublin depends on a move to the W... [tags: James Joyce Dead Essays]
3151 words (9 pages)
- The novel “Dead simple” by Peter James is a gripping novel which keeps the reader on the edge of his seat throughout. The story is about a young man named Michael who is on his stag due with his friends and when they play a harmless prank on him (burning him in a coffin.) It goes seriously wrong when they are killed in a car accident and the question remains, where is Michael Harrison. This essay will examine how Peter James creates suspense throughout the novel using various literary techniques.... [tags: Dead simple, Peter James, ]
711 words (2 pages)
- While reading James Joyce’s works can prove to be challenging, his writing is filled with much meaning and worth. In the case of Gabriel Conroy, his self realization that ends the Dubliner series is filled with Joyce’s important ideas. Although this moment is the primary focus of the collection, it is the build up of many smaller scenes in Joyce’s other short stories that lead to this final moment of epiphany. Epiphanies play a key role throughout Dubliner’s, therefore making the ideas behind each of them essential to understanding trending characteristics seen in Dubliner’s.... [tags: Dubliners, James Joyce, The Dead, Emotion]
1005 words (2.9 pages)
- Analysis of The Dead by James Joyce James Joyce's significantly titled story “The Dead” is about a dead generation and society of people. Joyce’s decision to add Gretta’s reminiscing with the dead Michael Furey in “The Dead” is extremely important. Perhaps if Joyce decided to end the story after Gabriel’s speech or the setting up of the dinner party, we would still be left with a very pleasant short story. However, Joyce continues on with a significant encounter of the dead Michael Furey that uncovers a side Gabriel has never recognized of himself.... [tags: The Dead James Joyce Literature Essays]
482 words (1.4 pages)
- Human Identity in The Dead The short story, "The Dead," is the final story in Dubliners, but it is characteristic of a number of previous stories. In the first story, "The Sisters," a young boy is confronted with the death of an influencing figure in his life. The women in "Eveline" and "Clay" are haunted by death: Eveline, by the memory of her mother, and Maria, by the omen of her own death. "A Painful Case" is the story of the tragic death of a rejected woman. A dead political figure is the basis of "Ivy Day in the Committee Room." All these stories revolve around characters' pains and experiences with death.... [tags: Joyce Dead Essays]
927 words (2.6 pages)