kolbfinal - 1 English 166 Professor Kolb 11 December 2006...

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English 166 Professor Kolb 11 December 2006 Prompt 2: The Ineffectual Hero The role of the heroic figure presented in the works "The Dead" by James Joyce, "Such, Such were the Joys," by George Orwell, and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf is less romanticized and made more realistic as an individual unknowingly and defenselessly marred by the uncertainty of his own perceived reality. The characters live moment to moment confined in their own subjectivity and are only able to escape the ambiguity of their existence through the passing of time and their own personal reflection. The individualistic outlook of the characters in these works is not presented pessimistically by the authors as a disparaging quality, but as an inherent attribute to living life itself. The authors of these works suggest that there is no other means of existence but one through subjective viewpoints with the clarity of meaning only coming after the passage of time. Furthermore, it is through the characters’ subjective perceptions of reality that they are able to live each moment of their lives with a full extent of emotion. In “The Dead,” the character Gabriel Conroy, in regards to his marriage and to his wife Gretta, hides behind aestheticism in constructing an idealized world that puts significance into the roles as a husband, and lover, masking the reality of his possibly dull life. Gabriel’s aesthetic viewpoint reignites his passions for his wife. The sight of Gretta on a staircase enchants Gabriel and, attracted by the “grace and mystery in her attitude,” deduces that she must be a “symbol of something” (165). When he begins to describe Gretta as a “picture” and himself as “the painter,” 1
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it is obvious that while Gabriel is mentally creating his portrait of her in a “blue felt hat show[ing] off the bronze of her hair,” Gabriel’s idealism is also constructing Gretta’s entire persona (165). Gabriel begins to create idealized images of himself as a lover “ [catching] her by
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kolbfinal - 1 English 166 Professor Kolb 11 December 2006...

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