Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formattingExcerpt from Essay:
Joyce's The Dead
The Living Dead in Joyce's "The Dead"
James Joyce is one of the most well-known Irish writers of the twentieth century. Many of his works draw upon his personal thoughts and experiences and are rich in symbolism and allusion. Joyce's "The Dead," the last short story in Dubliners, follows Gabriel Conroy as he attends his aunts' annual holiday party. Throughout the short story, the theme of death is constantly present in the characters, the party, and recollections of the past and the future. In "The Dead," Gabriel and Gretta Conroy, Freddy Malins, and Mr. Browne are depicted as dying, emotionally dying, or being emotionally dead in several instances.
Gabriel Conroy, on whom the short story centers, is constantly interacting with death on multiple levels. Symbolically, Gabriel's name can be associated with the archangel Gabriel, who is often referred to as God's messenger and associated with revelations (Hopler, n.d.). Throughout "The Dead," Gabriel comes to recognize how death influences the behaviors of individuals, such as his wife, Gretta, and how it is emphasized by the past. One of the most prominent examples of death and dying occurs at the beginning of the story as Joyce describes Gabriel's family history and introduces his aunts, whose party he and his wife are attending. Joyce explains Kate and Julia Morkan, Gabriel's aunts, have been putting together the holiday gathering since the death of their brother, Pat (Joyce, 1914). As such, it can be argued that the holiday party was born out of death and that through its thirty year run, had not allowed life to commence nor flourish. Moreover, Joyce insinuates that the parties will continue to be thrown for as long as the Morkan sisters are alive, thus establishing that the Morkan sisters' death will also be a death for the party, as well as a death in tradition. Gabriel is also highly impacted by the death of his mother, who voiced her disapproval of his marriage to Gretta. Joyce (1914) writes, "A shadow passed over his face as he remembered her sullen opposition to his marriage. Some slighting phrases she had used still rankled in his memory; she had once spoken of Gretta as being country cute and that was not true of Gretta at all." Which later will demonstrate that Gabriel was blinded by Gretta's other characteristics to fully understand or recognize that the Gretta he saw was not who Gretta truly was.
The decline in Gabriel's family can also be seen through the death of his relationship with his wife, Gretta. While Gabriel and Gretta's relationship may appear to be healthy and without issue at its surface, Gabriel's perception of his wife is slowly destroyed throughout the course of the party and after they leave the party and settle in the hotel for the night. One of the first clues that Gabriel did not know his wife for who she truly was is his failure to recognize her as she stood at the top of the staircase mesmerized by Bartell D'Arcy's singing. Paradoxically, Gabriel asks himself, "[What] is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of?" (Joyce, 1914). Gabriel's inability to recognize his wife demonstrates that he does not know his wife as well as he thought he may have, thus further killing the relationship he has with his wife. Unbeknownst to him, Gabriel instigated the end of their relationship earlier in the night as he refused to give in to her desire to travel to Galway together and inadvertently casts her off. In "Structural Symbol in Joyce's "The Dead," O'Hehir (1957) contends, "Gabriel has released [Gretta] to return alone to Galway, and that is exactly what she does. Every action now will hasten Gabriel to his doom" (p. 8). Ironically, it can be argued that the relationship between Gabriel and Gretta was dead from before the party even started despite the fact that Gabriel was unaware. During the brief conversation revolving around galoshes, Gabriel reveals that Gretta is constantly courting death thus establishing that she does not care for their relationship and does not see it as a living entity. In conjunction with Gabriel's comment that Gretta would "walk home in the snow if she were let," Gretta also reveals that she has gone against Gabriel's wishes and refuses to wear galoshes. It will later be revealed, through her confession to Gabriel at the end of the story that the one true love of her life, Michael Furey, died after going to visit her at a convent before she was to leave despite her telling him "he would get his death in the rain," which he did when he died a week after his visit to the convent (Joyce, 1914).
The death of Gabriel and Gretta's relationship is finalized at the end of the story as Gabriel learns the truth about Gretta's past and realizes that he never knew his wife for the person she really was and was only in love, or he thought he was in love, with the shell of the person she used to be. Through her revelation of her former love for Michael Furey, Gabriel realizes inadvertently kills how he saw himself. Joyce (1914) writes,
Gabriel felt humiliated by the failure of his irony and by the evocation of this figure from the dead, a boy in the gasworks…A shameful consciousness of his own person assailed him. He saw himself as a ludicrous figure, acting as a pennyboy for his aunts, a nervous, well-meaning sentimentalist, orating to vulgarians and idealising his own clownish lusts, the pitiable fatuous fellow he had caught a glimpse of in the mirror. Instinctively he turned his back more to the light lest she might see the shame that burned upon his forehead.
Gabriel's innate reaction to hide himself from his wife further highlights the emotional divide that has forever plagued their relationship.
Death can also be in the lack of vitality between the sexes at the holiday party. In addition to the death of Gabriel and Gretta's relationship, the party also serves to emphasize that the gatherings will never be a source of life, but rather an end to it. Throughout the course of the party, all sexual advances between its attendees, including the Morkan sisters' housemaid and the caretaker's daughter, are rebuffed to signal that there is no chance of sexual reproduction and subsequently no chance of life being a consequence of attending the Morkan sisters' party. One of the first indications of a failed sexual advance is Lily's retort to Gabriel's inquiry of her future prospects of marriage. Lily comments on the death of social convention and states, "The men that is now is only all palaver and what they can get out of you" (Joyce, 1914). The death of the socially accepted and expected convention of marriage, and Lily's reaction to the new expected convention, appears to indicate that Lily is opposed to the new convention and as such, will not engage in any sexual activity -- which is required for the creation of life -- for as long as she can. Lily is not the only woman that rebuffs men's sexual advances during the party as Aunt Kate quickly escorts three of her students away from Mr. Browne after he begins to boast of his sexual prowess. Mr. Browne claims, "I'm the man for the ladies," [as he pursed] his lips until his moustache bristled and [smiled] in all his wrinkles. "You know, Miss Morkan, the reason they are so fond of me is-" (Joyce, 1914). Mr. Browne is rebuffed for a second time after he directly approached the young ladies and "leaned forward a little too confidentially and [assuming] a very low Dublin accent so that the young ladies, with one instinct, received…[continue]
"Joyce's The Dead The Living Dead In" (2013, January 12) Retrieved October 24, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/joyce-the-dead-living-in-104724
"Joyce's The Dead The Living Dead In" 12 January 2013. Web.24 October. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/joyce-the-dead-living-in-104724>
"Joyce's The Dead The Living Dead In", 12 January 2013, Accessed.24 October. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/joyce-the-dead-living-in-104724
James Joyce's The Dead James Joyce develops strong female characters in his short story "The Dead" and uses them in contrast to the men. The primary contrast is that between Gretta and Gabriel, and while Gretta is described in feminine terms related to the image of the Blessed Virgin, Gabriel is described in the same terms, creating an interesting shift which carries through the story and brings out differing perspectives on
James Joyce's "The Dead" and a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Entrapment and escape are common themes uncovered in James Joyce's literature. Joyce often utilizes society as a symbol of entrapment for his characters, and through moments of realization, they often experience an epiphany that allows them to escape their paralysis. In his novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and his short story, "The
"Poor Aunt Julia! She, too, would soon be a shade with the shade of Patrick Morkan and his horse," realizes Gabriel. He also realizes that his wife and he are not getting any younger -- he observes her face is not the face Michael Furey died to see. Rather than regain his belief in the value of romance, Gabriel has a deeper revelation: he comes to recognize how little he
Likewise, the two sisters who sacrifice so much for the man will their sacrifice as well, given their evidently ardent faith, however misguided. The setting of an Ireland where the Catholic faith remains such a respected institution gives further force to the power of the man, even though Joyce's powerfully symbolic language and writing style ultimately deflates the image of the man in death. Death, Joyce ultimately suggests, comes
While this is most definitely a bottom for Gabriel, a true moment of crisis, it is also a very real chance for enlightenment and change. The empathy reflected in those lines shows a break in Gabriel's solipsism. Whether this is a momentary or lasting change remains unclear, for the reader sees Gabriel at the instant of recognition with no indication in the narrative as to its effect on him. The
Chopin's The Story Of An Hour And Joyce's The Dead Marriage is commonly defined as an intimate union of a man and woman, involving a special kind of love and commitment that facilitates a harmonious relationship and family life. Too often, however, the reality of marriage proves to be far removed from the idealized images projected by society and religion since individual personalities and the drudgery of daily living lead to
This is the case with Gabriel in "The Dead" as well. Throughout much of the action of the story, Gabriel appears at a loss as to who he is, which is directly related to how he is perceived. The first time in the story this is noticed is to the beginning, when he gives a coin to Lily out of an unspecified yet apparently selfless motive. Gabriel wants to share