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In James Joyce's The Dead discuss the themes of loss and involuntary memory in relation to Freud's Mourning and Melancholia - Research Paper Example

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Theme of Loss and Involuntary Memory in James Joyce’s “The Dead” Joyce’s tale “The Dead” depicts the loss and despair of a man who has developed feeling of disillusionment with his present stauts as he thinks that he has become ineffective and impotent…
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In James Joyce's The Dead discuss the themes of loss and involuntary memory in relation to Freud's Mourning and Melancholia

Download file to see previous pages... The moment of epiphany at Gretta’s revelation has a serious effect on Gabriel’s mind and he, in a state of mourning, loses interest in his life and develops a feeling a disregard for his own “self”. The hero of the story “The Dead” apparently seems to be a star of the show at his aunts’ party. He has been given the honor of delivering after-dinner speech. But when we see this man in the company of people we find that this man lacks self confidence and is not sure what impact his speech would make on the people. Perhaps he is aware of the hollowness of his words. The bubble of his self confidence bursts when he comes to know that his wife compares him with her past lover who is dead. Gabriel felt ashamed that he was being compared with a dead person and in this comparison the dead person was regarded superior to him. The consciousness about his diminutive self made him melancholic and “he saw himself as a ludicrous figure, acting as a penny-boy for his aunts, a nervous, well-meaning sentimentalist, orating to vulgarians and idealizing his own clownish lusts, the pitiable fatuous fellow he had caught a glimpse of in the mirror” (Joyce 150). This feeling of disillusionment and loss experienced by Gabriel is not the expression of individual rather it is going to be an elegy of a country or a nation. Joyce himself was writing his collection Dubliners in a broader context. Explaining his authorial intent for writing Dubliners, he states, “My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis” ( qtd. in Friedrich 421). The story “ The sisters” acted as the prologue of this elegiac epic while “ The dead” was its inevitable “coda”(421). Gabriel seems to be a mouthpiece of Joyce and Noon traces some autobiographical implications of Joyce’s personality in the character of Gabriel and finds that it is difficult for the reader to “ separate the ‘moral history’ of the city from the self-portrait of the artist”(254). Gabriel here is mourning the loss of the city (Dublin) which is the center of paralysis and like his writer shows anger and sorrow towards Ireland (Noon 255). Gabriel is reminded by Miss Ivors that he has lost his link with Irish identity and he has become a “ West Briton”. She suggests that he should feel ashamed of himself for that. He also likes to spend vacations in Europe instead of Ireland. His talk about Ireland offends nationalist in Miss Ivor and she leaves of party early in an indignant mood. Gabriel in his speech Gabriel’s constant resort to his past through his memory is actually the cause of his emotional distrust and his neurotic cynicism with his present situation. We try to recollect our past through an attempt to access our sub-conscious memory. This we do voluntarily. But sometimes our unconscious invades our consciousness through recurring bouts of involuntary memory. Joyce’s technique of “ stream of consciousness” works in this paradigm of voluntary and involuntary memory. Gabriel’s sense of loss is strengthened by these sudden infiltrations of involuntary memory which make him compare his present with his past. This comparison ultimately leads him to a situation where he develops a feeling of disillusionment with his present. This stylistic technique is the hallmark of James Joyce through which his characters come to recollect their past. This activity ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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