The Dead 2 Essay, Research Paper
Life After Death
James Joyce states it best saying, Better pass boldly into that world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age (p.143). Not only is he talking primarily about the death of relationships, but also that of literal death and other mortalities and the way they take shape. Gretta and Micheal probably represent the passionate passing best.
Micheal Furey s last visit with Gretta started with some window taping, and ended with death and lost love. Micheal knew that instead of growing old with love, he should die while his fire for Gretta still burned bright. Gretta, rather boldly, said to Gabriel, I think he died for me (p.141). However, Gretta did not make that assumption until later contemplation.
Joyce also does a good job of outlining the meaning of life cycles. It takes something to grow before it can die, and something to die before it can grow. For instance Gabriel s love was hidden until the uncovering of death, for then it bloomed. Joyce then carefully picks the name Gabriel. Perhaps this too supports the cycles of life. Gabriel, the angel, indirectly brought Jesus into the world, which in turn brought the key intention of the bible to life, death. The death of Jesus is only important for the forgiveness of sins, or our only chance of a worthy life after death. Still it would not have been possible without the birth.
Now its Gretta s turn. Gretta, in her deep remorse for the long lost friend, starts to relive some of her lost emotion. As Micheal did, she too wants to go with passion, before age strikes her. Gabriel even says, …he knew that it was no longer the face for which Micheal Furey had braved death (p.142). Similarly a tapping at the window and the falling of snow comes before she goes. Gabriel knows what has happened. Joyce tells us by saying, His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead (p.144).
Joyce probably had many intentions and interpretations for death. However the death represented in relationships and the connection between life and death seemed to greatly outweigh the other messages. Both perspectives of death have their diversity, yet keep one big parallel. And that is, sometimes you don t know what you have until it s gone.