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The Dead


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“The Dead” is a story that chronicles how a man’s wife cheated on him, and how he has mixed emotions about her. Through Joyce and Gabriel’s descriptions, it seems he wants to feel bad, but he just can’t due to bitterness. James and Gabriel reveal that Gabriel isn’t a very sympathetic or shameless man by using imagery, pathos, and diction.

Joyce shows Gabriel’s unsympathetic side at the very beginning of the story as Joyce states how “it hardly pained him” that he had very little impact on his own wife’s life. Joyce uses pathos to show how unsympathetic Gabriel is. When he stated how he didn’t really care about his little impact on his wife, it shocked me. Obviously, I don’t have a wife, but knowing I had little impact on any of my loved ones would be a constant bother I would feel my entire life. Joyce definitely hit my emotions when he stated that. How could a man not care about the impact he had on his own wife’s life? I couldn’t imagine being that heartless to not care about that, but I guess Gabriel has a different mindset. Maybe I care a little too much, but I’d rather care too much than not at all like Gabriel.

Gabriel’s use of diction also stood out to me. When he said he could only find “lame and useless’’ words to console his late wife’s aunt Kate was the prime example that showed his heartlessness. How he said his words were “lame and useless” just show that he really wasn’t emotional about his wife’s death. Obviously, no words are perfect when consoling someone after a loved one’s death, but at least something is better than nothing. I’ve been to a couple viewings and at least saying sorry and giving the family hugs seems to help at least a little. The death of his own wife can’t bring a little sympathy, and his words really displayed that This example shows again how heartless Gabriel is.

Joyce said in the first paragraph how Gabriel could no longer find beauty in his wife’s face. Joyce says Gabriel didn’t like saying that about his wife, but I feel if that’s what Gabriel is worried about after her death, he is a shameless man. James used imagery to state how Gabriel couldn’t find beauty in her face as Gabriel watched his wife in her sleep. I can just imagine the heartless Gabriel staring at his dead wife, and that gives me chills. I don’t like the idea of anyone watching someone in their sleep. What a shame that he is only focused on her beauty after he death instead of the good times they had. This is just another example that displays the heartlessness of Gabriel.

James and Gabriel really displayed Gabriel the same way. They both showed how he’s a shameless, heartless, and bitter man. I know some people like Gabriel, but I don’t really like them. I know he’s a fictional character, but through the use of imagery, pathos, and diction by Joyce and Gabriel himself, Gabriel seems like a person I want to throw into a dumpster.

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
The Dead