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A Feminist Study of "The Dead" Essay

Decent Essays
As the last story of James Joyce's short story collection, The Dubliners, "The Dead" is about a young Dubliner's one day of attending his aunts' party and his emotional changes after the party ends. In the paralyzed city the young man feels the atmosphere of death everywhere. And he often has misunderstandings with people, especially women including his wife. From the main character Gabriel's experience, we can see his personal life is in a strained circumstances. This difficult situation is probably caused by his failure to deal with the relationship with the female characters. Many events happen in the story prove that he can not get a real freedom until he understands the value of woman to improve the mutual relationship.

The female
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His reaction also reveals about his ability to relate to women and to people of other social classes is not strong. Another thing worths noticing is that the name "Lily", a kind of white flower, has a symbol meaning. People use the flower in the funeral, so the caretaker's daughter is a living symbol of death who stands at the gate letting guests in. So she stands for a key to getting into women' inner world. Thus Gabriel's attemp to understand women' inner world fails.

Conflict also happens between Gabriel and Miss Ivors. Miss Ivors is a typicalized nationalists. She directly attacks Gabriel for writing for The Daily Express. She feels ashamed of him and says to him, " to say you'd write for a paper like that, I didn't think you were a West Briton" (130). She criticized his anti-nationalist attitudes and goes away in the middle of the party. This conflict makes Gabriel feel unpleasant and sad. He is angry because he thinks "she had tried to make him ridiculous before people, heckling him and staring at him with her rabbit's eyes" (132). He tries to relief his nervousness by turning to sit beside Freddy Malins' mother who talks those tribble things to him. It doesn't help him "banish from his mind all memory of the unpleasant incident with Miss Ivors" (132). From Gabriel's conflict with Miss Ivors we can see that he cann't achieve the approvement
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