Sample Term Paper

Words 3,144

The Dead

Gabriel is revealed to be both secure and insecure, the generous and responsible husband and father, and the somewhat cold, anxious and sexually uncertain lover. His insecurity is manifest in his self-absorbed, self-justifying and hypocritical feelings of superiority toward the guests, and especially toward his aunts. His intellect is often employed as a defense against passion, even though he chose his lower class wife — in the face of his mother’s sullen opposition because of her natural ease of manner and feeling. He has not yet been able to separate himself from his mother’s cultural pretensions. Her concept of the dignity of family life, her serious and matronly nature are part — perhaps the chief part — of the dead hand of the past that still hangs over him and contributes to his problems with his wife, with liberated Miss Ivors, and even with Lily, the caretaker’s daughter. Finally, it contributes substantially to Gabriel’s inability to resolve his conflict between his civilized and his passionate self

Gabriel idealizes his wife, Gretta, to a degree that distances him emotionally from her. He dreams of a oneness that he fears to experience as a dangerously actual intimacy, a dream that itself helps to guarantee his separation. Toward the end of the evening, having watched Gretta at the top of the stairs listening to Mr. Bartell D’Arcy singing The Lass of Aughrim, Gabriel signally misinterprets his wife’s feelings. The song brings back to Gretta the memory of the young, delicate Michael Furey in Galway, who had sung the song to her, loved her passionately, and died of consumption. Before Gabriel discovers the personal elements connected with the song and how they affected his wife, he builds a fantasy of her renewed attachment to him, despite – the years of their dull existence together and allows his passion for her to develop in a multiplicity of ways — romantic, intimate, lustful, even angry — as he gradually realizes that she is not really thinking of him.

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