Analysis Of The Poem ' The Dead ' By James Joyce

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Tormented by the devastation wrought by World War I, individuals across the world struggled to communicate their experiences, thoughts, and sorrows in their fragmented societies. Authors such as James Joyce, T.S. Elliot, and Virginia Wolfe gave voice to these individuals through their implementation of a stream of consciousness writing style that became a key feature in the modernist literary movement. In his short story “The Dead”, the final tale in his collection Dubliners, James Joyce represents the struggles of a well-respected figure whose depression and low self-esteem causes him to agonize over an annual speech he gives and interferes with his ability to communicate his desires to his wife. Similarly, in his poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” T.S. Elliot illustrates how the anxiety a man faces over how he will be interpreted by others impedes on his desire to communicate. Likewise, in her novel Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Wolfe’s depiction of the anguish war veterans’ suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) deal with in their ardent desire to communicate exposes the darkest ramifications of the war. These authors in modernist literature demonstrate the inhibiting effects of mental illnesses on an individual’s ability to communicate, resulting in their societal alienation. In his characterization of Gabriel in “The Dead,” James Joyce illustrates the inner turmoil that an average, well-respected man with depression secretly suffers in his desire
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