Synopsis, Analysis, Commentary and Philosophical Implications the Dead, from the Dubliners, by James Joyce.

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James Joyce, The Dead from “Dubliners”

«[…] He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years that image of her lover's eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to live.»

James Joyce (Dublin, February 1882 – Zurich, Jenuary 1941) is an Irish writer who has depicted Dublin in his collection of short stories “Dubliners” (London, 1914), and who has revolutioned narrative style and techinques with his mature work “Ulysses” (Paris, 1922). Even though Joyce spends most of his life abroad, leaving Dublin in his early twenties, he mantains a strong bond with his city, where he set his stories with precison, in its streets and allyways; he explains : “For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.”

“Dubliners” is a collection of short stories meant to be a naturalistic depiction of the popular Irish society of the beginning of the 20th century. Lower and middle classes are portraid, many characters struggling with poverty, uneployment, alcoholism, ignorance and superstition; a general sense of irreversibility and resignation to destiny covers their spirits, who are affected by a paralysis like the whole Irish society, due to years of submission to the United Kingdom and the oppressive morality of Catholic Church. At that time, Irealand was struggling for indipendence (nationalism reaching its highest peaks) and for the creation of a national identity, to which Joyce's work contributed.

The initial stories in the collection are narrated by children as protagonists, and as the stories continue, they deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This is in line with Joyce's tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence and maturity. In each story, the protagonist comes across an epiphany, a special moment of self-understanding or illumination,...
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