Thematic Purpose Behind Snow Essay

Thematic Purpose Behind Snow Essay

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James Joyce is praised for his distinct stylistic purpose and furthermore for his writings in the art of free direct discourse. Though at times his language may seem muddled and incoherent, Joyce adds a single fixture to his narratives that conveys unity and creates meaning in the otherwise arbitrary dialogue. Within the story “The Dead”, the final and most recognizable piece in the collection Dubliners, the symbol of snow expresses a correlation with the central character and shows the drastic transformation of such a dynamic character in Gabriel Conroy. The symbol of snow serves as the catalyst that unifies mankind through the flawed essence of human nature, and shows progression in the narrow mind of Gabriel. Snow conveys the emission of the otherwise superficial thoughts of Gabriel and furthermore allows for the realization of the imperfections encompassed by mankind. Riquelme’s deconstruction of the text allows for the understanding that the story cannot be read in any specific way, but the variance in meaning, as well as understanding depends solely upon the readers’ perspective. Following a personal deconstruction of the text, it is reasonable to agree with Riquelme’s notions, while correspondingly proposing that the symbol of snow represents the flaws, and strengths of Gabriel, as well as the other characters as it effects all equally.
John Riquelme’s essay For Whom the Snow Taps: Style and Repetition in “The Dead” proposes two possible interpretations of the story. The essay describes the variations of meaning behind the recurring thematic purpose of the story, but even more so, points out the repetition of the symbol of snow. Focusing mainly on the celebrated last passage of the story, Riquelme harps on the transformat...

... middle of paper ...

...ints out that this can be read as the figurative death of Gabriel as a character, or that it is a sense of re-birth of his character.

“Gabriel resists recognizing that his own purposive, habitual actions and his desire…social and personal relations do not take the implications of the snow…Gabriel has been assimilated to the snow…and accepts as part of his thinking and his future behavior (Riquelme 232-33).

Joyce’s intentions of the snow will forever be open to interpretation, however it is reasonably evident that his intentions of the snow provide the reader with a symbol used to depict the unification and vulnerability of humanity. It is the snow that first showcases Gabriel’s dominant and superficial personality, and reciprocates itself as it serves as reasoning for the epiphany that illuminated his flawed humility.

Works Cited

James Joyce, "Dubliners"

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