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 and emptiness. In the very last scene, there is a “ghostly light” coming in through the window in the hotel room. That ghostly light eventually becomes a metaphor for Gabriel’s epiphany – the light symbolizes his realization, and the fact that it is “ghostly” is due to the morbid nature of his epiphany. It is also the sound of snow falling against the window that spurs Gabriel’s realization about mortality.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Windows appears in The Dead. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...declined such an offer. Gretta leaves to go socialize and Gabriel’s attention turns toward the window, where he can see that the snow has covered everything outside. He imagines how pleasant... (full context)
...his own identity fading into this “grey impalpable world.” He hears snow falling against the windowpane and turns to see “silver and dark” snowflakes contrasting with the lamplight. He realizes that... (full context)