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...
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...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.
James Joyce, "Dubliners"
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