The Dead Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 56 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Dead.
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When describing his intentions in writing Dubliners, Joyce said that the city of Dublin seemed to him the center of paralysis. By paralysis Joyce meant the inability to act, move, or grow beyond where one is spiritually and emotionally—the inability to live fully. In "The Dead," Gabriel is paralyzed by his self-consciousness. He is self-conscious about Lily's bitter remarks on marriage and about what he should say in his after-dinner speech. When Miss Ivors accuses him of being loyal to the British, he tries to avoid confrontation. He doesn't want to risk a "grandiose phrase" toward her in a room full of people. He fantasizes about using his speech to criticize Miss Ivors, but by the time he gives it she is gone, and he gives a speech that only serves to please his audience. The story Gabriel tells about Patrick Morkan's horse walking in circles...

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This section contains 203 words
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Short Stories for Students
The Dead from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.