Reader Response to James Joyce's The Dead Essays

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Reader Response to Joyce's The Dead James Joyce's story "The Dead" has a tremendous impact on the readers, especially those who are familiar with the political situation in Ireland at the time about which the Joyce wrote the final story in Dubliners. In exploring the meaning of James Joyce's long short-story, "The Dead", there are many critical approaches to take. Each approach gives readers a lens, a set of guidelines through which to examine and express ideas of the meaning of "The Dead." Joyce himself said that the idea of paralysis was the intended theme of all the stories in The Dubliners of which "The Dead" is the final story. Of all critical approaches, reader…show more content…
(138) The images reflect Gabriels ego in a sense, at the same for his marital relationship, and at the end death, which may not be physical but spiritual. Gabriel who is tallish and stout symbolizes authority and also wants to be perfect for all times. He has a mental block, which makes him believe that he is more superior and different than others are. He's built a screen around himself, which stops him from identifying himself with the "Common Man." The "...polished lenses and the bright gilt rims of the glasses which screened his delicate and restless eyes...."(23,24). This image perhaps tells us that the glasses are the screen that partition his vision from the vision of others. Joyce's intended theme of paralysis is exemplified in the symbolization of snow. In the story, snow has a major role as it symbolizes the political situation at the same time where everything was cold and dead due to the political uncertainty at the time. Snow also plays a major role as it interprets the reader to be on the alert, as things at the end are not going to be as smooth as Gabriel had predicted. This seen in the shift of mood when after the party had concluded, Gabriel and his wife are heading towards the hotel and he's in a very
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