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Belated topic for discussion: Week 3

Here's an optional discussion question from "The Dead," because I felt guilty over not posting one this week.

Do you think Gabriel is happy in his marriage? Why or why not? What about Gretta--is she happy? What's the textual evidence for your answer?


In joyce's 'The Dead," Gabriel and Gretta break the underlying theme of paralysis. Their marriage is a natural movement, having it's normal high moments and low moments, but learning to compromise and get along. Gabriel is happy in his marriage, he is so awed by his wife and her beauty. The way in which he talks of her. In the beginning of the story, the firs thing Gabriel says is about his wife. "but they forget that my wife here takes three mortal hours to dress herself" (153). In the way that Gabriel describes Gretta shows that he is quite in love with her. "It was his wife...he asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of. If he were a painter he would paint her in that attitude" (182). Later he says "Moment of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory" (185). Throughout all the hardship of her not wanting to make love to him and her feeling upset over this other man, he really cherishes the moments that they have together. Gretta's character is more complex, but I feel that she is in love with Gabriel. Even though she is not interested in making love to him, that is not all what marriage should be about. She loves him because she has no problem expressing the way she feels towards him and is honest with him, and that is a part of a healthy marriage. "It was a person I used to know in Galway when I was living with my grandmother, she said. It was a young boy I used to know, she answered, named Michael Furey. he used to sing that song, The Lass of Aughrim. He was very delicate" (190). I feel that her way of expressing her love to him is being honest with her feelings to him.

I believe they have a happy marriage. Gabriel is still very attracted to his wife after years of marriage. It describes Gabriel's feeling as he observes he, while not paying attention to his surroundings, as "joy leaping out of his heart" (213). It makes it seem as if their marriage has had droughts of excitement but is then made up for when their is moments of lust. I don't think that Gretta does not have feelings for Gabriel just because she is not intimate that night. She is overwhelmed with sadness and emotions that she can not control. I believe that Gabriel is overwhelmed by other feelings from that night including the speech and conversation with Miss Ivory; the end of the night just sort of topped off his emotions.