Gabriel's Struggle For Acceptance In The Dead By James Joyce

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The setting of “The Dead”, by James Joyce, exposes Gabriel’s concern for maintaining the balance between his scholarly and affluent appearance with his inner longings for acceptance and love. Prior to Gabriel’s arrival there was a lot of build up to him coming which suggests that there may be friction between him and the other guests at the party. Gabriel exhibits spurts of being narcotic and paranoid while being at the party because he truly does value what the other people think of him but does not want to disclose his need for acceptance. Even though the party is set in Gabriel’s aunts house he still does not feel at ease or comfortable with his relatives. All of the build up to Gabriel’s arrival plants a seed in the reader’s minds for …show more content…
He feels that he is at a higher intellectual level than most people at the party and worries that when he has to make a speech he will come off sounding condescending. Prior to giving his speech Gabriel begins to feel paranoid and bickers with himself within his thoughts. He worries that Mrs. Ivors and him are not getting along and how she may look at him with her “critical quizzing eyes” (172). His concern with her opinion shows his insecurities as well as his need to feel accepted in order to feel comfortable. However, Gabriel quickly switches back to keeping his outer and stone like appearance when he spits “What did he care about his aunts were only two ignorant old women?” (172). He feels the need to insult other peoples intelligence in order to make himself feel superior and maintain his studious and higher class appearance. Throughout the entire story, Gabriel is having a mental quarrel with himself because he is struggling to balance his act of wealth and power with his inner longing for acceptance. The setting of the dinner party places Gabriel in a situation with people that he should feel comfortable with but constantly finds himself trying to prove his character. All of these people in a concentrated place test Gabriel’s ability to be able to balance his character and only expose as much as he wants. Once he get through the speech he feels more at ease because he is no longer in the spotlight which …show more content…
Even when Gabriel is just in an average setting, he is still not able to connect with people because he needs to feel superiority. His need for proving his intelligence causes him to feel paranoid about the people around him and stops him from connecting with them. His obsession with keeping up his reputations blocks him from being able to experience the aspects of life that he truly wants like love and causes him to search for acceptance in every situation. In the story, Gabriel is his own worst enemy and stops himself from truly living a life that could prove to be great for

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