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Analysis: extract from "the Dead"

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Introduction

Analysis: extract from "the Dead" This extract corresponds to the last three paragraphs of the short story "The Dead", taken from the fifteen-story book "the Dubliners" by James Joyce. It narrates Gabriel's (the main character of the story) feelings and thoughts as he is left alone to organise his thoughts after a revealing conversation with his wife, where he learned about her character, her past and of his own failure to see all of this in the women he had lived with for so many years. The passage starts by reminding us the cold that is covering the outside world, with the sentence "the air of the room chilled his shoulders". It is the first time that we see both the outside and the inside world starting to mingle, as they had been completely isolated one form the other through out the whole of the story. We can notice this from the moment Gabriel entered his aunt's house, as his first action was to remove the snow on his goloshes, as if trying to remove anything from outside that could "contaminate" the inside world. ...read more.

Middle

And is only in that moment of vulnerability that he is able to release tears of love for his wife, and recognise her as person and not only as his legal partner, only when he is alone, as she is sleeping, where he allows himself go. He is not really responsible for his actions from that moment on, as he allows himself to enter an oneiric state, what usually means you do not really remember anything the next day. Remember that people usually define their personalities when in society, so if self-discovery is not applied to our common routine, it is useless. Also in this paragraph, Joyce continues working the symbolism of the shadows and the mental paralysis it represents. Suddenly, everything is turning "grey", we are submerged into a "partial darkness" comparable with the "shadows" he mentions earlier. "The dead" start surrounding him and he feels as if his "own identity was fading". This is what I believe the title of this story signifies: the paralysis that death, either physical or symbolic entangles, blocks any possible mental or emotional growth, as it is the ultimate and most complete form of stagnation. ...read more.

Conclusion

is used symbolically then to present the paralysis Dublin holds upon its inhabitants. To conclude, I believe that this passage is an extremely symbolic text in which Joyce manages to concentrate all of the aspects that had been already present in the book into one moment where they were all exacerbated in such a way that all of their consequences for the life of the main character become easy to see. I believe that it involves his stagnation and the completion of the mental paralysis he had managed to avoid until that moment. Joyce's statement on August 1904 "I call the series Dubliners to betray the soul of that hemiplegia or paralysis which many consider a city", I believe also sustain my argument as I believe it means all of the series of short stories mean that there is no real evolution for the characters, they all are doomed to stay exactly where they are. Another example can be the story "Clay", also part of the Dubliners series, where the main character's fate and life is doomed to remain unchanged no matter the efforts she or her loved ones try and make to change that situation. Florencia del Rio 01/05/07 NAP Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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