Gabriel's Epiphany in The Dead by James Joyce Essay

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Gabriel's Epiphany in The Dead by James Joyce

Many people in society feel alienated from the world and separated from their fellow man while others may try to find meaning where none exists. In James Joyce's "The Dead," Gabriel Conroy faces these problems and questions his own identity due to a series of internal attacks and external factors that lead him to an epiphany about his relation to the world; this epiphany grants him a new beginning. The progression in Gabriel from one who feels disconnected to one who has hope parallels Joyce's changing view of Ireland from finding it to be a place of inaction to one where again hope and beauty thrive.

In "The Dead" Gabriel Conroy and his wife attend a party thrown annually
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The story is meant to symbolize Gabriel¹s own existence that seems to be an endless cycle where everything merely repeats itself. Further suporting Gabriel¹s feeling of being a part of a dead society is his need to become closer with nature throughout the story. He quickly grows tired of the party and wants to go outside into the snow, which he had avoided earlier in the story, for when he enters the party in an attempt to avoid the cold "ironically the lights within seem to illuminate a society that is stuffy and dead rather than warm and alive, and Gabriel soon longs for the cold fresh air?which seems to represent the vitality of nautre." (Walzl 235-236). To Gabriel nature and the world outside the party exhibit life, which is more credit than he gives his fellow partygoers.

As well as an incapacity to act, Gabriel demonstrates a fragile ego by constant internal examination after every interaction at the party. His first encounter is with the hostesses¹ maid, Lily. When he questions her as to whether she is going to get married anytime soon, Lily becomes angry at this intrusion into her life. Gabriel reveals this encounter "cast a gloom over him which he tried to dispel by arranging his cuffs and the bows of his tie" (Joyce 2348). Instead of wondering why she is upset by the comment, he views the situation from only his point of view. He wonders what he did to upset her, whether he used the
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