Final Dead - Olga Botea English 200 In The Dead by James...

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Olga Botea English 200 In “The Dead” by James Joyce, the reader, is presented with a portrait of the distance between a man and wife. Gabriel, the husband, and his wife, Gretta are very separate entities. John Donne once said “no man is an island, entire of itself;” the first to breach the “island” should be loved ones and family members; why does this husband and wife each stand on their own? In his mind, Gabriel may have had “proud, joyful, tender, valorous” thoughts about his wife, but throughout the short story The Dead he was not able to funnel those thoughts into either words or actions (56). Gabriel fails at breaching the distance between himself and Gretta and he tries to make up for it by attempting to breach distance with other woman such as Lily and Mrs. Ivors through conversation. In the middle of the story Gabriel “was in the dark part of the hall gazing up the staircase. A woman was standing near the top of the first flight, in shadow also. He could not see her face but he could see the terracotta and salmon-pink panels of her skirt [. ..] It was his wife” (51). When addressing this passage, first of all, the reader sees that Gabriel is watching his wife from the shadows and from a flight of stairs below her. The fact that he is a flight of stairs below her on the stairs displays their physical distance, while the fact that they are both in “shadows” or darkness alludes to their emotional and metaphorical distance, and how they cannot read each others desires or thoughts. One example of Gabriels failure with breaching distance with woman other than his wife during conversation is with “Lily, the caretakers daughter” (3). Very soon into their conversation “Gabriel colored as if he felt he had made a mistake” and quickly averted his attention elsewhere trying to escape the conversation. He also acted very pompously as he gave the girl “a coin” in
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order to appease her and make himself feel less guilty (8). However, the coin did not give as much redemption as he hoped and he was still “discomposed” and the activity had cast a gloom over him which he tried to dispel by busying himself with arranging and rearranging his clothing. I believe that his action
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Final Dead - Olga Botea English 200 In The Dead by James...

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