James Joyce "The Dead"

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Thesis: In James Joyce's pluralistic short story, "The Dead", Gabriel Conroy is dragged westward by the same nets as Stephen Deadalus (those of family, religion and politics), and at the end of the story he is not reborn but rather accepts the transition to the world of shadows.

Joyce thought the present as the only legitimate frame of mind. The stream of consciousness writing style is the vehicle he invented to convey the importance of the present. He believed that people were who they were as a result of the experiences that they had been through in their life. Therefore the personality and view point of any one person is the sum of their experiences. The small epiphanic moments that take place in Dubliners are examples of these "defining moments" or experiences where some realization comes to light and the truth is boldly apparent. The scene at the end of "Araby" is a good example.

"Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity: and my eyes burned with anguish and anger." (27). The boy has an insight into himself which is seemingly spontaneous but in it self is the result of the damned up waters of experiences gaining enough strength to cause a break through and change the landscape of the boy's intellect. This approach to the formation of personal identity lends itself to a pluralistic approach towards Joyce's writings. Just like there are thoughts that competed for attention and primacy in the boys head, there are themes and ideas that compete for attention in Joyce's short stories and novels. One person may see one of them and someone else point out another and they could both be right because Joyce intentionally wrote both these things into the text. There are so...