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Word Count: 790
Underlying meanings of The Dead by James Joyce The question of Gabriels ability to love and have a healthy relationship is a central theme in the story though not evident until nearly the end Through most of this tale Gabriel is quite egotistic He sees himself above the others in knowledge and social stature But this soon changes and that same ego is dealt a heavy blow which helps Gabriel to have an epiphany After hearing a song played at the party Gretta tells Gabriel how when she was still a girl living in Connacht she was in love with a boy named Michael Furey an appropriately angelic name Michael opposing Gabriel a fury to his ego a seventeen year old singer who died after waiting for her in the rain The song triggered the memory of the boy for her and it torments Gabriel with jealousy that she had a love before him and presumably wasnt a virgin In the eyes of Gabriel Michael gave up his life for the love of Gretta whereas Gabriel sacrifices that love for positions of minimal power as a teacher a reviewer and a pennyboy who supports his aunts Instead of admiring healthy expression of love and relationship through art he makes a mockery of it This is evident in storys emphasis on the relationship of music and love the relatives of Gabriel his aunts and cousin who are unloving in being teach music as an outlet of frustration as well as having many paintings throughout the house Gabriel is unresponsive to artistic endeavorshe doesnt understand his wifes reaction to the song which reminds her of Michael and he doesnt understand the paintings of Romeo and Juliets death He even remarks that his mother had no skill for music a trait evidently passed onto her son Whereas others may channel their frustrations into books Gabriel can only review that channeling can
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