To begin with, Joyce depicts the Misses Morkan’s annual Christmas party as one that is characterized by deadened routines and lifelessness. Though the party may seem celebratory on the surface, it is anything but. Joyce illustrates, “never once had it fallen flat. For years and years it had gone off in splendid style as long as anyone could remember…” (175). The party is monotonous as the events repeat every year with Freddy Malins arriving late and drunk, everyone dancing the same memorized steps to the waltz, Mary Jane playing her Academy piece, everyone eating the same food that is served every year, and Gabriel giving a speech during the dinner. The Dubliners have settled into a thirty-yea...
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... are alive, but they behave as though dead, while Michael Furey who is the only true dead character of the story, lives the most with his intense emotions, ardent love, and unconventional behavior. Furey helps Gabriel realize that life cannot be based off of deadened routines and formal conduct, but instead has to be full of adventure and excitement. In the end, Joyce uses artistic unity to suggest that people can exist outside of a state of paralysis by reaching their full potential and living in the moment.
Joyce, James. "The Dead." Dubliners. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006.
175-223. Norton Critical Edition Series.
Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 3: Early Nineteenth Century-Edgar Allan Poe." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. 21 Oct. 2011
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