The Moral and the Materialistic in "The Dead"
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The paper provides a critical analysis of "The Dead" by James Joyce and presents the thesis that almost all of the characters are not distinguished as good or bad according to their behavior, but as "living" or "dead in life". The paper discusses how the negative characters are completely separated from the past, display alienated personalities, and their lives are ruled by the needs of the day, while the positive characters have values of a spiritual nature and they live with greater fullness, insight, and moral rightness.
From the Paper:"Dubliners is a collection of short stories that describes what Joyce saw as the "moral paralysis" of a nation: its bewitchment by the clergy and its bondage to both English tyranny and to its own sense of the past. The negative characters are completely separated from the past, display alienated personalities, and their lives are ruled by the needs of the day. Their conduct is controlled and rational to excess, and reveals coldness, calculation, and selfishness. The positive characters, in contrast, have values of a spiritual nature. Their present is based on memories of the past and oriented by the past; so they live with greater fullness, insight, and moral rightness.
"In "The Dead," the passionate intensity of Gretta's recollection forces Gabriel to recognize his own emotional limitations and shallowness. He also realizes the humanity that unites him to the others. The narrative, then, appears inverted: from a present that initially seems to promise her union and solidarity. Gabriel, at the beginning appears isolated in a present of selfishness and hypocrisy, and is initially projected toward the East in a symbolic rejection of his personal and national past, in the end he turns toward the West, yielding to the communion that, beyond human limits, unites the living and the dead. There is a sense of opening up to others, intimation, and of moral regeneration and hope in this last story of Dubliners."
Cite this Analytical Essay:
The Moral and the Materialistic in "The Dead" (2003, September 22) Retrieved February 28, 2024, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/the-moral-and-the-materialistic-in-the-dead-36049/
"The Moral and the Materialistic in "The Dead"" 22 September 2003. Web. 28 February. 2024. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/the-moral-and-the-materialistic-in-the-dead-36049/>