The Dead

by

James Joyce

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Snow

Throughout the text all manifestations of winter—cold, the color white, snow, and the season itself—usually represent mortality. The fact that snow falls indiscriminately “on both the living and the dead” all over Dublin highlights the…

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Light and Dark

Traditionally light symbolizes truth or knowledge, and the dark symbolizes ignorance. This holds true in “The Dead” as well. Even in the opening scene, Gabriel calls out to his wife Gretta “I’ll follow” from the…

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Windows

Windows indicate separation, and in “The Dead” this is the separation between warmth and cold, between outside and inside. Windows also serve as a metaphorical barrier between the living and the dead, and between passion…

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Grey

The color grey is used repeatedly to represent death. The most common instance of this symbol is in Joyce’s descriptions of Gabriel’s Aunt Julia. Julia has grey hair and a grey face, and…

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Brown

Often embodied by the character Mr. Browne, the color brown represents the drab-ness of Dublin. This opinion is most clear when Mary Jane remarks “Browne is out there, Aunt Kate” and Aunt Kate…

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