The Dead Essay

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In the following essay, Morrissey explores the conflict Joyce's characters experience when their "romantic inner perceptions" encounter "squalid outer reality."

In his short stories, Joyce's conspicuous symbols usually grow out of a disparity between a character's romantic inner perception and squalid outer reality. This disparity creates the strange sense of displacement common to so many characters in Dubliners. In some like "The Sister," "Counterparts," "Two Gallants," "Ivy Day in the Committee Room," "Clay," and "A Painful Case," the inner image is held only briefly. It may be no more than a nightmare glimpse of "some pleasant and vicious region" of the soul with its "long velvet curtains and a swinging lamp of antique fashion" as it is in "The Sisters." Or it may be no more than the romantic images of a song/poem, as it is in "Clay" ("I Dreamt that I Dwelt"), "Ivy Day. . ." ("The...

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This section contains 3,648 words
(approx. 10 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Dead Study Guide
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The Dead from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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