The Gabriel hanging in the dust. He was embarrassed

The
Dead by James
Joyce is a novella that is filled with modernistic qualities. Joyce’s style of
writing, his themes, and his characterization of individual characters are some
of the elements that make this short story so modern. The modern themes that
exist in this work are death, loneliness, depression, and failure. All of these
themes lead into the biggest and most important one of them all, which is
alienation. The protagonist, Gabriel Convoy, experiences feelings of separation
from the very beginning of the story all the way to the end. Alienation was the
dominant theme in The Dead,
especially regarding Gabriel’s character. There were many instances of
alienation throughout the story, including religion and social changes. Gabriel
Convoy symbolizes these feelings of alienation as he struggles with cultural
and social differences at his aunt’s party.

Gabriel Convoy, who is an excellent
representation of a man in a modern society, does not know how to socialize
with the other people attending the party with him. He kept going back to the
same window because he wished he was alone outside rather than inside with
everyone at the party. Gabriel’s lack of communication skills is another thing
that makes him different than everyone else. While debating what to say in his
dinner speech, he could not decide what to say because he was embarrassed by
how he would be judged. Throughout his aunt’s dinner party, Gabriel continually
finds himself in awkward situations that add to his feelings of loneliness and
alienation.

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Gabriel’s initial awkward
interaction is with the housemaid named Lily. His attempts at what he thinks is
a friendly conversation backfire immediately when he asks to marry her. Lily
responds to him in a very harsh way and left Gabriel hanging in the dust. He was
embarrassed by Lily’s reaction and felt like he should just have never opened
his mouth. This interaction with the housemaid shows the audience just how
socially inept Gabriel is with other people. The next one occurred a little
later in the night with a woman in the story named Molly Ivors. She negatively
commented on Gabriel’s outfit, and even though she was not entirely serious, he
took her words to heart. Unconfident and unsure how to respond to Molly’s
jokes, Gabriel felt more insecure and distant from the people at the dinner
party. Being unable to communicate with anyone in a positive manner
continuously has Gabriel feeling isolated. Gabriel’s final awkward moment is
with Gretta, his wife. This encounter portrays Gabriel’s feelings of alienation
as it leads to his famous epiphany. It was at this point in the story where he
realizes that he does not love Gretta as much as Michael did, who died for her.

Gabriel sees it as Michael is still alive and that he is alienated from life
and has not been living this whole time.

Being that this is the second time
I have had to read The Dead for a
course, I think I know it pretty well, especially regarding modernism. Apart
from the theme of alienation, Gabriel Convoy is a modernistic character because
Joyce identified him more with imperialist England instead of his home country,
Ireland. This is an aspect of modernism because the customs of the more
powerful country, which was England, reflected the customs of the weaker
country. Gabriel Convoy’s use of England’s customs left him feeling isolated.

It is evident that James Joyce used the character of Gabriel Convoy in The Dead and the themes of alienation to
represent his feelings of isolation from the society he lived in.