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James Joyces story The Dead has a tremendous impact on the readers especially those who are familiar with the political situation in Ireland at the time about which the Joyce wrote the final story in Dubliners In exploring the meaning of James Joyces long short-story The Dead there are many critical approaches to take Each approach gives readers a lens a set of guidelines through which to examine and express ideas of the meaning of The Dead Joyce himself said that the idea of paralysis was his intended them of all the stories in The Dubliners of which The Dead is the final storyOf all critical approaches reader response works best for me This approach examines the images symbols point-of-view characterization and setting of The Dead in such a way as to reveal the theme of paralysis that Joyce intended The two characters that appeal to me are Gabriel and his wife Gretta who are invited every year to a family gathering by Gabriels two aunts on New Years eve Gabriel who is a university professor does not want to be identified with Ireland He wants to be identifies as a citizen of the world His arrogance is revealed in his interaction with others A primary example would be the way he treats his wife Gretta as an object As Peter J Rabinowitz informs one that in reader response criticism the activity of reading always alters the text at hand Unless we are limiting ourselves to reading in the sense of uninflected recitation reading is never a passive activity to which the reader contributes nothing In the reader response criticism reading is a text in which individual experiences bear on the subject Every individual interprets the text differently due to one having different experiences that determines the interpretation of the text 138 The images reflect Gabriels ego in a sense at the same for his marital relationship and at the
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