You are on page 1of 3

Gregory Welch Professor Mary Huffer English 331 4 September 2011 The Dead “The Dead” is a short story

written by James Joyce. This story was the last part of a fourteen story collection written by Joyce. The story takes place at a Christmas party in Dublin, Ireland in the early 1900s. The central theme of the story is death and spirituality. The plot of the story involves the thoughts, feelings and emotions of the main character. The main character of this story is Gabriel Conroy. This essay analyzes the character of Gabriel as an inhabitant of the modern wasteland as it is depicted in “The Dead” specifically the failure of communication, the failure of religion, the failure of personal relationships and the meaning of Gabriel's epiphany at the end of the story. The hurt and pain associated with a lack of communication is evident in the reaction of Gabriel during a conversation he had with his wife. During this conversation, Gabriel’s wife shared with him for the first time the story of her first true love. Despite all their time together she had failed to communicate or share this story with him, her husband. The story states “Gabriel, leaning on his elbow, looked for a few moments un-resentfully on her tangled hair and half-open mouth...So she had had that romance in her life: a man had died for her sake. It hardly pained him now to think how poor a part he, her husband, had played in her life. He watched her while she slept, as though he and she had never lived together as man and wife” (Joyce, 1). Gabriel’s saddened demeanor as the result of not knowing of this event is clearly evident. Gabriel’s character had an aunt (Kate) who verbalized the failure of religion best.

than fade and wither dismally with age… Generous tears filled Gabriel's eyes. Gabriel finally understood the meaning of love. will lack those qualities of humanity. Mary Jane. In conclusion. 1).According to Aunt Kate religion has a flawed decision making process. He had never felt like that towards any woman before but he knew that such a feeling must be love” (Joyce. Until hearing his beloved wife’s story of love. Gabriel addresses the failure of personal relationships during a speech he gives the night of the Christmas party. of kindly humor which belonged to an older day” (Joyce. During the speech he states “But we are living in a skeptical and. Her disappointment in religion is very apparent. a thought-tormented age: and sometimes I fear that this new generation. Near the stories’ end. 1). of hospitality. in the full glory of some passion. Gabriel states unequivocally that personal relationships are breaking down as a result of the lack of civility that was once present in days gone by. I suppose it is for the good of the Church if the pope does it. if I may use the phrase. But it's not just. Gabriel says to himself “Better pass boldly into that other world. but I think it's not at all honorable for the pope to turn out the women out of the choirs that have slaved there all their lives and put little whipper-snappers of boys over their heads. his understanding of love was incomplete. 1). and it's not right” (Joyce. . Gabriel’s epiphany was an understanding of what love is. death and spirituality set in 1900 Ireland. James Joyce’s “The Dead” is an interesting story about life. Mary Jane. educated or hyper-educated as it is. However the story provided Gabriel with clarity. She states “I know all about the honor of God. Saint Leo University.Works Cited dead. 4 September 2011 ‹http://classics. Select Writers of the Twentieth Century: A Brief›http://mockingbird. Creighton University. 2005.creighton. Pearson Custom Publishing . Boston: MA. The