The Dead provides a broad perspective over which some issues can be painted. The setting of the story is the annual dinner and party dance, hosted by Julia, Mary, and Kate. The house help has the responsibility of welcoming visitors to the event that is hosted at the family residence. The event attracts both friends and relatives, yet there is a manifestation of favoritism in the construction of the story. Despite the arrival of the visitors, Julia and Kate are anxious to welcome their nephew and the wife at the party. When Gabriel arrives at the event, he commences a conversation with Lily about the perceived love life, but the latter is apprehensive about the discussion (Joyce 703). The discussion is curtailed when Gabriel offers a tip to the housemaid Lily before retreating to the other part of the room. Gabriel seems uneasy with discussions relating to, love matters and prefers to disengage from such tendencies. Various individuals join the discussion though some of the characters have behavioral propensities that significantly alter the events at the party.
The narrative presents a discussion on some themes that act as fundamental talking points insofar as analysis of the story is concerned. The theme of poverty is not introduced as a major discussion point, though it is manifest in the life of Lily, who acts as a servant for the family that enjoys a life of affluence (Joyce 705). Additionally, Lily’s family lives under extreme poverty conditions to the extent that she has to work as a housemaid to supplement the deficiencies caused by poverty. Consequently, there are manifestations political divisions and instability based on the confrontations that are manifest in the affairs of the nation.
The themes of religion and gender-based inequalities are propagated by some of the characters in the story. Failing to accomplish some of its mandates and showing compassion to the citizenry, the populace criticizes the church. For instance, Kate scoffs at the Pope for putting a caveat on the inclusion of women in the church choir (Joyce 707). However, Kate finds it difficult to reconcile her perceptions of the Catholic doctrines and the personality of the Pope. Kate cannot neither identify the faults in the indoctrination of the Catholic values nor determine the suitability of the Pope as a moral standard of the church. However, Julia provides a divergent opinion on the Pope’s persona by intimating that her dedication and motivation to working at the church is provoked by the Pope’s sexist tendencies.
Isolation and Mortality are two themes that are inherently propagated in the narrative by Joyce. The manifestation of joy and happiness in the movie is extensively projected to the audience yet the heading is a contradiction of what is in the storyline. The story does not suggest any bleakness but is indicative of a life of affluence where people enjoy the essence of a good life. For example, financial comfort is shown by the party mood and celebrations that are conducted by the characters in the story. Family and friends happily interact with one another in a fashion that indicates happiness (Joyce 715). The narrative is a fusion of occasions characterized with joy and moments of reflection that have somber connotations.
The story is set in a winter season that is synonymous with tragedies such as death. Consequently, the season is a revelation of a holiday season and the party held by the family authenticates this assertion. Gabriel’s aunts are the symbolic connotation of the onslaught against time. For example, Kate cannot properly hear Gabriel’s speech, and this is a manifestation of old age. Essentially, Gabriel understands that in the near future, he will return to the house not to party, but to attend the aunt’s funeral (Joyce 721). The significance of each moment diminishes the somberness that is expected in future. For example, the conversations are short though they are a reflection of the happy moments and cordial relationships shared by the characters. Gabriel presents a moving speech that provokes the emotional orientation of the old aunts.
Gabriel is portrayed as a character that exhibits authority and caution because of his reputation and restrained behavior. Gabriel furthers these tenets because of her aunts who expect her to be a character with proper moral standings. However, Gabriel’s confidence is challenged when she has encounters with two women at the event. At the commencement of the story, Gabriel acts defensible when asked about his love life. After the provocations with Lily, Gabriel does not endeavor to apologize nor explain his statement but offers some tip to the housemaid in a defensive fashion. Gabriel seems to blame his educational pedigree for his inability to relate with Lily or servants with declined social class appropriately.
The fact is that Gabriel uses the money to be a demonstration that he relies on social status to stay away from people. Consequently, this scene suggests that it is inherently difficult for the Gabriel to tolerate or respond to issues of critical importance. Throughout the party, Gabriel is questioned about pertinent issues such as nationalist movement, but he finds it difficult to provide authentic and convincing answers. Gabriel’s failure to respond with utmost intellect and confidence compels him to provide certain rhetoric that chocks the people at the party. Gabriel posits that he is sick and tired of his country. In his unguarded moments, Gabriel loses his temper because of his inability to provide objective answers to his audience.
The theme of miscommunication is extensively by Joyce in the narrative. The theme is discussed from the lenses of Gabriel. When Gabriel and the wife drive back home, they remain silent on one another, and both of them are immersed in thoughts that reveal numerous issues about their persona. Miscommunication between the two couples is a demonstration of the discomfort that Gabriel exhibits when it comes to discussing issues that can have a positive implication of his relationship with others (Joyce 721). Miscommunication hinders the two from engaging in practices that married couples are accustomed to while in a relationship. For instance, Gabriel’s wife thought that after the party they would have heard a great romantic night but such intentions were frustrated by the inability of the two to communicate and register their feeling towards each other. The two arrive home and instead decide to sleep. However, there is a confession of love from Gabriel when he intimates that he has a deep feeling of love with his wife. Such propensities reveal that even though Gabriel was not able to communicate or express himself in a satisfactory manner, he can internally admit his feelings towards close associates (Joyce 725).
Gabriel’s wife becomes emotionally detached from the husband when she admits to thinking about his former love. Perhaps the wife is frustrated by the husband’s behavior by failing to communicate or confess his feelings for the partner. Even though Gabriel is infuriated by the wife’s remarks, he understands that his actions are to blame for the feelings exhibited by the wife. When partners are not able to express how they feel towards one another, the implications are the poignant disenfranchisement of the parties involved. Despite the confession, Gabriel admits his love though on the evidence that is available it can be noted that the two may not have a relationship in the near future (Joyce 726).
‘The Dead’ provides a balance on the issues that are raised in the story. This narrative extrapolates the political situation in Ireland. For instance, in the speech, Gabriel narrates that the essence of hospitality in the nation is neither valued nor respected. When Gabriel notes that people should not focus on the past, his remarks betray him. Gabriel reflects on the how the snow has had certain implications for the entire nation effectively condemning and paralyzing the living and the dead in equal measure (Joyce 732).
‘The Dead’ is a reflection of how people can traverse through the journey of life and diverse circumstances, yet still be confined to a defined destiny. The characters in the story display different demeanors and persona though each have a unique character that alters their lives. Miscommunication, isolation, religious issues as well as politics are some the themes projected in the story. Ireland manifested by snow, and its occurrence is symbolic in the sense that it can cause death and affect the living by severely destructing their fate.
Joyce, James. The Dead. Claremont, CA: Coyote Canyon Press, 2008. Print.