Essays on The Dead

The Dead
Original title The Dead
Author James Joyce
Genre Comedy
Language Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek
Characters Dedi, Djadjaemankh, Rededjet, Ubaoner
Published 1979
ISBN 978-0-385-50476-2
Book Summary
Essay Examples

Table of Contents

About The Dead

The Dead is a novel by James Joyce that was first published in 1914. The story is set in Dublin, Ireland, and follows the lives of two sisters, Gretta Conroy and Kate Morkan, as they deal with the death of their husband and father, respectively.

The Dead Summary

The novel is told from the perspective of Gabriel Conroy, Gretta’s husband, and focuses on his relationships with his wife and family.Gabriel is a Dubliner who works as a teacher. He is married to Gretta, who is from the countryside. They have two children, a son and a daughter. Kate is Gabriel’s Aunt, and she lives with them in Dublin. Kate is a spinster, and she runs a successful music school with her niece, Mary Jane.The novel opens on the evening of the Morkan sisters’ annual dinner party. Gabriel is preparing to go to the party, and he is thinking about his relationship with his wife. He is not sure if she loves him, and he is worried that she may be having an affair.At the party, Gabriel is pleasantly surprised when Gretta tells him that she loves him. They dance together, and Gabriel is happy. However, his happiness is short-lived when Gretta tells him about a past love of hers, Michael Furey.Michael was a young man who died of tuberculosis. Gretta met him when she was seventeen, and she was in love with him. However, her family did not approve of him, and they forced her to break off the relationship. Gretta has never forgotten Michael, and she still loves him.Gabriel is hurt and jealous when he hears about Gretta’s past love. He is also worried that she may still be in love with Michael. However, he is reassured when Gretta tells him that she loves him and that she will never forget him.The next day, Gabriel goes to his Aunt Kate’s house. He is surprised to find that she is very ill. Kate tells him that she is dying, and she asks him to take care of her music school after she is gone.Gabriel is shocked by his Aunt’s news, and he is further upset when Mary Jane tells him that Kate will not be able to continue running the music school. Gabriel is angry and frustrated, and he blames Gretta for not being there for him.Later, Gabriel goes for a walk in the rain. He is thinking about his Aunt Kate and her music school. He is also thinking about Gretta and her past love, Michael. As he walks, he sees a group of children playing in the rain.He is reminded of his own childhood, and he thinks about how happy he was. He also thinks about how his life has changed since he got married and had children. He is no longer the carefree young man that he once was.Gabriel continues to walk, and he eventually comes to the river. He stands on the bridge, and he looks at the water. He is thinking about death, and he is wondering if there is anything after death.Suddenly, he hears a noise. He looks over the edge of the bridge, and he sees a man’s body floating in the water. He is horrified, and he runs to get help.The man is taken to the hospital, and Gabriel is taken to the police station. He is questioned about the man’s death, but he does not know anything. He is released, and he goes home.Gabriel is deeply troubled by the man’s death, and he is also troubled by his own mortality. He is no longer sure about what he believes, and he is no longer sure about what will happen to him when he dies.

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