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Theme of discovery in "the Murder", "The Dead" and "Clay"

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Theme of discovery in "the Murder", "The Dead" and "Clay" In the three short stories, you can see how all of the characters are discover their destiny, and become self-aware of their condition. In "the Dead" this is extremely obvious, as Gabriel (the main character), after misreading several signals that were supposed to warn him about the mood his wife was in, realises that he actually does not understand the person he had married, and that he had been fooling himself both intellectually and emotionally. By trying to escape from that paralysis that affected all of Ireland, as the excess of patriotism symbolised by Miss Ivors would prevent him from taking advantage of what the continent offers, he also prevented himself from learning about what he already had. He does not understand his wife, and he never really manages to escape from Ireland's influence anyway, what becomes obvious when seeing his reaction towards Miss Ivor's accusation. All of these things allow him to realise that, as he will never free himself, he might as well accept his destiny, by starting "his journey towards westward". ...read more.


The clay also symbolises death and the prayer book that religion will probably be involved, maybe a convent, before this end finally arrives. That is why her friends get annoyed at the joke made by the pair of girls, because they also realise this. Her song at the end, which is encircled by a dreamy mood, proves that she is not ignorant of her position either. It is also a vicious, unbreakable circle the one that traps and paralyses the actions of the protagonists of "The Murder". It is the one caused by cultural differences and the fact that they live in an enclosed society, what limits their individual freedom. Their existence is confined both intellectually and emotionally, and there is also a limit to how much their perspective develops. From the moment that Jelka's father tells Jim that she will not respect him if he does not hit her, and he ignores this "advice", she is bound to betray him. This is because this limit in their personal development does not allow her to realise what a life outside her cultural context has to offer. ...read more.


In "The Murder" the kind of rural and isolated society they live in is also quite isolated from external influence, and it revolves solely on the happenings of the towns and farms. People do not know or care of the world outside that small community. In addition to this, we have the element of learning, which is also a common factor in all of the stories, and it is innate in the term discovery. In "The Dead" is Gabriel the one who learns that he knows nothing, the one who comes to understand that he does not know the woman he married. Yet, I believe that this understanding and this acceptance of his position, which I mentioned earlier is actually pushing him backwards. He tried to move forward, he could not, but it was too difficult to stay in the middle, and intellectually is suffering a regression. In "Clay" Maria learns her limitations and learns to live with her dreams while, in "the Murder" is actually the reader who learns something, as the characters cannot do so as they are trapped in that never ending vicious circle that their upbringings and their condition forced them to enter. ...read more.

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