October 8, 2002
An Awakening in ?The Dead? by James Joyce
Through a sequence of events that take place one evening, Gabriel Conroy, the protagonist in James Joyce?s ?The Dead?, is transformed from a man on the verge of suffocation, due to his self inflicted ignorance, to a man awakened by the realization of his own mortality. As Rapp states ?throughout most of the story it is clear that Gabriel is trapped in his own self-consciousness [?]? (1).
Gabriel and Gretta attend a Christmas dinner given by his wealthy aunts. Gabriel arrives wearing his snow covered galoshes. The symbolism of the snow in ?The Dead? differs from one critic to another. ?To some it is seen as the symbol of death. Others see the snow as symbolizing Gabriel?s escape from his own ego to a vision of all humanity [??]? (Billigheimer 473). After all the guest?s have had their dinner, Gabriel gives a speech to honor the accomplishments of his deceased family members. While the guests are enjoying themselves, Gabriel is looking out the window, wanting to be back in the refreshing snow.
It is ironic that Gabriel is struggling with feelings of
gabriel, gretta, snow, own, death, dead, woman, take, stairs, secret, realization, rapp, place, one, mortality, man, life, joyce, james, finney, escape, dinner, billigheimer, beauty, writes, writers, window, while, wearing, wealthy, wanting, vision, verge