The Dead ' By James Joyce

2257 Words Sep 7th, 2016 10 Pages
‘The Dead’ begins and ends in two entirely different places. What begins as a harmless portrait of simple human interactions, morphs slowly into an examination of the nature of time and memory. James Joyce uses every level of his writing in order to reveal this complex paradox. He breaks down the boundaries of life and death, of time and memory, by breaking down the structure of his grammar. He exposes the ambiguities of existence through the ambiguities of pronouns. In the midst of this acrobatic vernacular, Joyce is able to maintain the humanity of his ideas through the character of Gabriel. Gabriel, who undergoes a more dramatic change than the text itself, begins entirely average, too average. He is just sort of existing, no more, no less. His actions and moments of “passion” are comical, not visceral. His anger, his embarrassments are only perceived “as if” they existed not as though they actual do. Gabriel is in every way the embodiment of a self-referential figure. He is constantly outside of himself, judging and analyzing his actions, desperate to remain, as he has always been, average and innocuous. Joyce takes this figure and gives him the biggest epiphany of his life. In the final moments of the narrative, Gabriel realizes that memory allows both the living and the dead to live in a sort of timeless boundless space, where past, present and future are relative and interchangeable. In ‘The Dead’, Joyce uses this combination of linguistic, structural elements along…
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