James Joyce The Dead - Effect From Beyond the Grave

Essay by twinkiepinkHigh School, 12th gradeA, May 2004

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It is known that many times people have their greatest effect on the living after they have passed away. In the story The Dead, by James Joyce, it is clearly seen that Michael Furey, has his greatest effect on Gretta from beyond the grave. Death shows man's greatest flaw and when people have a close brush with it, they are forced to come to the reality that they, too, will someday die. The realization that death is approaching yields decisions of change to make life more enjoyable and to prepare themselves for the life after. Gretta recalls the time that she spent with the first man she loved.

Michael Furey had a lasting effect on Gretta because of the things he did for her while he was alive; however, she appreciated the things he did for her even more after he died. Michael and Gretta had been lovers when the two were younger, prior to Gretta's marriage to Gabriel. When Michael found that Gretta was moving away from him, Michael lost all desire to live. A week before Gretta left, Michael went to Gretta's grandmother's house in the pouring cold rain to see her. He stood outside despite the sickness that he knew would come because of his actions, until finally, after a great deal of pleading by Gretta, he returned home. A couple of weeks later, Gretta received the news that Michael Furey had died; he had grown sick and died because he loved Gretta so much. This had a profound impact on Gretta because the one man she had ever loved had given up his life to spend only a few minutes with her.

Michael Furey was at the back of Gretta's mind for many years, until she was at a party where she became aware...