, Research Paper
James Joyce is considered one of the most unique writers in the 20th Century. After reading Jame’s Joyce, “The Dead”, it is apparent that Joyce’s writing is not only complicated, but the way he tells the story is unique as well. In “The Dead”, it is difficult to understand what the beginning scenes represent and it really does not have any affect on the plot of the story. “The Dead” starts with a little party thrown by the Morkan sisters. At this party, all of the Morkan sister’s friends and family were invited. One of the people who attended the party was their nephew, Gabriel. After some singing, dancing, the people at the party sit down and had dinner. They had some goose, ham, and pudding. After dinner, Gabriel gives an emaculate speech and everybody goes home afterward. Once Gabriel and his wife get to the hotel, she tells him a story of her ex-lover. It is only this point of the story, at the end of the story, where the story reaches a climax and ends almost abruptly. James Joyce’s writing style is evidently different from most writers. After reading “The Dead”, it became apparent that Gabriel Conroy from the short story had a few similarities to that of James Joyce. Could it be that the beginning of the story in “The Dead” was for James Joyce to develop his characters? Or was it just to develop the character Gabriel Conroy? Nonetheless, the similarities between Joyce and Conroy is their way of thinking, intelligence, and feelings towards their homeland.
One similarity between James Joyce and Gabriel Conroy is that they are both highly educated and intelligent. Both Joyce and Conroy attended prestigious universities. James Joyce attended Dublin’s University College and Gabriel Conroy attended a prestigious school as well. “Thanks to her, Constantine was now senior curate in Balbriggan and, thanks to her, Gabriel himself had taken his degree in the Roal University.” By receiving an education, both men were highly intelligent as well. James Joyce wrote a book at the age of twenty-six and by the age of thirty-two, Joyce had his first major work published. It was a collection of short stories entitled “Dubliners.” Gabriel Conroy is also highly intelligent man. When Conroy had to give a speech, ” he was undecided about the lines from Robert Browning for he feared they would be above the head of his hearers. Some quotation that they could recognize from Shakespeare or from the melodies would be better.” Conroy is such a wellread man, that he is afraid that his audience would not understand parts of his speech.
Both James Joyce and Gabriel Conroy seem to have some sort of animosity towards their native land. After James Joyce left Dublin, he never returned. Joyce left Dublin at the age of twenty-two, right after visiting his mother on her deathbed. “Joyce made his first trip to Paris in 1902, returned to Dublin several times to see his dying mother, and then left Ireland for good, with Nora Barnacle, in 1904. It is not certain why Joyce never returned to his home in Dublin, but it is safe to say that he was not to fond of Dublin. Gabriel Conroy also had the same feeling towards his homeland. When Conroy was asked to take a trip back to his native land, he responded by saying, “O, to tell you the truth, retarded Gabriel suddenly, I’m sick of my own country, sick of it!” It does not take a genius to figure out Gabriel’s feeling towards his homeland. “The Dead” is not the only story in which Joyce rights about escaping and rebelling against one’s country. In “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”, a character by the name of Stephen Dedalus says, “I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can .” Many feel that “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” is an autobiography for Joyce and the character Stephen is a direct reflection of Joyce himself. If this is true, then it is a fact that Joyce does not care much for his country. It is clear that both Gabriel Conroy and James Joyce are not fond of their country.
James Joyce and Gabriel Conroy are also extremely arrogant. After writing “Finnegan’s Wake”, Joyce is reported to have said, “Well, that should keep the critics busy for three hundred years.” It seems that Joyce felt that his writing would be too difficult for the critics to read. When Yeats, one of Ireland’s greatest poets complimented Joyce’s poetry, Joyce replied, “I attach no more importance to your opinion than to anybody one meets in the streets.” Joyce feels that Yeats is no better than any other person on the street and he is dismissing the fact that Yeats is a renowned writer. Joyce not only feels that Yeats is not a superior to him, Joyce feels that he is better than Yeats. At the end of a meeting between Yeats and Joyce, Joyce said, “We have met too late. You are too old for me to have any effect on you.” It is clear that Joyce feels that there is no writer better than him. Gabriel is just as cocky and arrogant as Joyce. After reciting part of his speech, Gabriel felt “that his aunts were only two ignorant old women.” Gabriel thought that his aunt would not understand his speech and he did not seem to care.
James Joyce and Gabriel Conroy have similar characteristics. In the story, “The Dead”, it seems like Joyce created the character Gabriel Conroy as a reflection of himself. Joyce probably did not plan for it to happen, it probably just occurred unconsciously. Then again, authors often write about what they know best, which would be their past. Novels such as “The Invisible Man” or “Black Like Me” are good examples where authors write about their experiences. Stories which contain a personal view, seem to be better, simply because of the fact that the story seems to contain more passion and is not as fake. “The Invisible Man”, written by Ralph Waldo Ellison, is a description of a person’s life that is full of racial discrimination and hardship. There is a scene in “The Invisible Man” where the Invisible Man buys a yam from the Yam Man, and eats it. The way Ralph Ellison describes how the Invisible Man eats the yam, almost makes you hungry for some yams yourself. It could be the fact that Ellison had some experience with eating yams that enabled him to paint a perfect portrait of tasting a delicious yam. Although if everybody were to write about their experiences, then that would eliminate fiction, and what would literature be without fiction? If fiction were to be non-existent, then there would have never been Odysseus, Frankenstein, and even Star Wars. What would the movies be like without fiction? That would mean no ET, Independence Day, and Indiana Jones. Three movies which are in the top-ten moneymaking list for the movies. That is why we are so lucky to have an equilibrium of both fiction and non-fiction in our world today. So what is your choice, fiction or non-fiction?