The Trauma of Memory in James Joyce's "The Dead" Analytical Essay by Master Researcher

The Trauma of Memory in James Joyce's "The Dead"
An analysis of the theme of the trauma of memory in James Joyce's "The Dead".
# 33207 | 1,400 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Sep 30, 2003 in English (Analysis) , Literature (European (other))

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This paper uses a thematic analysis of James Joyce's "The Dead" to explore the modernist ideas of individuality, nationalism, and intellectualism throughout the text. The paper goes on to demonstrate, however, that the themes that Joyce explores in "The Dead" are linked to one overriding theme of the story of the trauma of memory. The paper shows how the story deals with the traumas of national memory and the traumas of Gretta Conroy's memory about the young boy who died of love for her.

From the Paper:

"The trauma of memory is linked to nationalism in the story as Joyce evokes the trauma of Ireland's past and the trauma of recalling that past. The dinner party is disrupted by arguments about politics, and Gabriel has to admit that he dislikes his own country. Characters are obviously concerned about defining -and redefining - for themselves the nation of Ireland, even as that definition fragments them as a society. The references to politics suggests the ways that the remembered trauma of Ireland's colonial situation in the past affects the nationalisms and ideals of Gabriel Conroy and those he comes into contact with. Gabriel attempts to define Ireland in a way that eschews politics in favour of sentimentality. He links Ireland's past to the practice of hospitality, rather than to the traumas of colonialism and conflict: "our country has no tradition which does it so much honour and which it should guard so jealously as that of its hospitality" (Joyce 213). Gabriel tries to hide and alternatively valorise the traumas of history by suggesting that culture not politics define the past and that even the traumas of the past have their good elements: "genuine warm-hearted courteous Irish hospitality...[is]...rather a failing than anything to be boasted of. But granted even that, it is, to my mind, a princely failing, and one that I trust will long be cultivated among us'" (Joyce 213)."

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