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8. Where does epiphany occur in ?The Dead?? Who has the epiphany? What is the emotional state it creates? How does it compare to other epiphanies in Dubliners? Is there an Irony in the story as well?

Epiphany of the Soul

In ?The Dead,? Gabriel has the epiphany. The epiphany occurs when Gretta was telling Gabriel the story of a young boy she used to know. Jealousy, Anger, and yet compassion are the emotional state it creates. The epiphany of ?The Dead? is basically about death of the soul and person. This epiphany is different to other epiphanies in Dubliners because instead of feeling good towards one-self, Gabriel feels sorry towards himself. In this epiphany, the story starts off with irony.

After the party, Gabriel looked at his wife Gretta and found out how much he loved her. He had seen how beautiful she was that night of the party at Aunt Julia and Aunt Kate?s house. It was like lust all over again for him when he saw her standing at the stairs and singing the song Mr.D?Arcy was playing. He was thinking of how both of them would be alone in the hotel and they would spend time together. He had thought about her a lot that evening and he assumed that she was also thinking about him. When he had asked her what was on her mind, she had answered something that he would never have expected her to say. ?While he had been full of memories of their secret life together, full of tenderness and joy and desire, she had been comparing him with another? (179). This is the Irony of the story because he had thought that they were both truly happy. He had always thought that Gretta was happy with him.

The epiphany of the story occurs when Gabriel had asked her what was on her mind. She told him that she was thinking of the song that Mr.D?Arcy was playing. That song, ?The Lass of Aughrim,? had reminded her about a boy named Michael Furrey. She had cared about him deeply and they had been young lovers when she was a child. Gabriel tries listening to Gretta but deep inside he was jealous and full of anger. He started questioning her about the man and by her words, Gabriel knew he had lost touch with his wife. When Gretta explains to him that he had died at the age of seventeen and that he had died for her, Gabriel got a sudden insight. Joyce writes, ? So she had had that romance in her life: a man had died for her sake. It hardly pained him now to think how poor a part he, her husband, had played in her life? (181). His anger and jealousy soon turns to compassion as he tries once again to regain the lost intimacy with his wife.

In the epiphany, Gabriel realized how many people had died. When saying how many people died, this does not necessarily mean that the person doesn?t exist anymore. In this case, he means the soul of the person. For example, Gabriel realized that part of Gretta is dead because she had always and will always compare him to Michael Furrey, even though he is gone. This is one thing that you can never bring back to life because the situation is not the same now and time has changed. Part of Gabriel himself is dead because he knew that one of his Aunt would soon pass away. He would regret that he had never really appreciated Aunt Julie?s and Aunt Kate?s traditions and culture of having that family dinner together. Later in the end of the story, Gabriel thought to himself, ?His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead? (182). This was the epiphany of Gabriel and the epiphany of the story because the whole theme of the story is about death. This may not necessary mean death of the body but the soul. When he said, ??faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead,? I think he means that although the soul may be dead or alive, it will be erased and you will have the chance to start over again. In this sentence, I mean that if you have messed up, then you will get your second chance.

This epiphany in ?The Dead? is different to the other epiphanies in Dubliners. The epiphany in this story doesn?t make the person realize that he or she had a lot more than what he or she thinks. In other epiphanies in Dubliners, they usually gain some happiness and realize that they have a lot to learn. In the epiphany in ?The Dead,? the epiphany is about death. It was about death of a person or the soul itself. This have no gain of happiness into the person?s life, this only brings sadness. But I think this epiphany means a lot more than any other epiphanies in Dubliners. This story has a meaning that goes deep down under and even though it is hard to understand, it will give the readers their own epiphany.


susan wei


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