Ignorance is bliss

Topics: Truth, James Joyce, William James Pages: 1 (308 words) Published: October 15, 2014
There is a common phrase that is said in society today: ignorance is bliss. It is ironic, that after thousands of years of human exploration and the never-ending strive for knowledge, that people would say that. Some people choose to not visit the doctor, in fear that they will find a cancer. It is the general belief that "if I do not know, therefore it cannot be  state of mind that causes people to feel this way. Much like Gabriel in James Joyce's in "The Dead , part of a series of stories in Dubliners. Throughout the story, Gabriel's emotions fluctuate as he attempts and fails to become closer to his family and friends. As his desire to reach out to the people around him increases, the snow around him begins to melt like the silent cover that protects him. When Gabriel wishes that he had not been truthful, or had not heard the truth, the snow once again becomes abundant. Ultimately, he realizes that, for him, truth can only cause him pain.

Throughout the story he is constantly battling whether or not he should become more personal to the people around, yet any time he attempts to, he ends up being misunderstood or hurt. James Joyce uses snow to reflect his shield or detachment from the people around him. At the beginning of the story, "A light fringe of snow lay like a cape on the shoulders of his overcoat and like toecaps on the toes of his galoshes , but he was trying to "scrape the snow [off] (185). Later he tries to become warm to Lily and has a conversation with her, but when their discussion results in a misunderstanding the story begins to be told in an omnisciently in Gabriel's point of view. It is like he is separated from the rest of the people.
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