Symbolism In The Dead By James Joyce

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The nature of symbol-making is another notable element of modernist works. With that said, “The Dead” by Joyce looks to symbolism as a way of emphasizing the Conroy’s failed marriage. The song titled “The Lass of Aughrim” (Joyce 1) represents, for Gretta, all that she missed out on as far as a relationship with Michael Furey. The song also proves to Gretta how lacking her marriage is in comparison. Additionally, snow is brought up several times throughout the work, for example, when Gabriel enters his aunts ' party, "A light fringe of snow lay like a cape on the shoulders of his overcoat” (Joyce 1) and later as the story closes “It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely” (Joyce 1). Snow, …show more content…
The connection is between Hell and the self. “Hell is alone, the other figures in it merely projections” (Eliot 1). Hell, is being alone. This connects to the idea later discussed of Edward and Lavinia’s senses of alacrity. Also, the cocktail party at the end serves to symbolize the reparation of the marriage between Lavinia and Edward is in full force. There would be no cocktail party is the two succumbed to a failed …show more content…
Much like Greta, Lavinia is discontented in her marriage. The difference between the two is that while Greta is more complacent (because of the earlier setting of the short story) in her marital position, Lavinia acts. It is said that Lavinia “left with no explanation” (Eliot 1). She does not need the justification from her husband for what she is doing. Lavinia sought aid from Henry herself. Later Celia is talking to Edward and she, again, asserts her position in her marriage by stating “don’t think that you can humiliate me! Humiliation—it’s something I’ve done to myself” (Eliot 1). Yes, Lavinia is accepting her role in their failing marriage, but she is also putting herself on an equal level to Edward. This is in opposition to the early 20th Greta who, in some ways, is a possession of Gabriel. To build on this, the fact that Eliot allowed for Lavinia and Edward to be unfaithful is also telling. Lavinia is not going to sit and take her husband’s demands and whims. She makes her own mistakes regarding their marriage. In some ways, it is also arguable that through this Lavinia comes to realize that Edward is the ideal mate for her. He will not stray from her and will act kindly toward her to continue their marriage. He tried to paint Lavinia as demanding, and then she points to the fact that he needs someone to tell him what to do. In the last act, two years after the start of the play, they are together

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