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Word Count: 481
Detailed character development is one of the most difficult yet essential aspects in a short story In James Joyces The Dead however there is clear detailed yet succinct maturity found in Gabriel the pieces main character Much of this development is seen in symbolism resourcefully placed throughout the composition Joyce begins by giving us a glimpse of Gabriels self-deception The initial impression given to the reader is one where he is seen as self-centered and egotistical He arrives late to the dinner party and blames it on his wife He does not know how old Lily is and does not care he speaks with her just to make conversation He then lessens his discomfort by giving Lily a coin claiming it is due to Christmas spirit He feels secure knowing that he is more educated than his peers and often flaunts this in his speech and actions This is particularly evident when Joyce writes He was undecided about the lines from Robert Browning for he feared that they would be above the heads of his readers This lack of self-awareness is what causes the eventual change in Gabriel He feels shame for his family their social class and their country When confronted he even admits to his distaste for Ireland He feels impatience at Grettas detachment from him as the evening progresses and his insensitivity is expressed even further with the annoyance he shows toward her mood This false identity begins to shatter when he finds out from Gretta that he was not her first love When he looks out the window at the snow it symbolizes his new awareness He puts himself in Grettas shoes and the amount of grief she is going through dawns on him This is the beginning of his epiphany Gabriel grasps that he can never touch the place in her heart that young Michael Furey who died for her did He begins to awaken and also realizes that although
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