There is no uncertainty that “ The Dead ” plays a important function in Dubliners and there are still many arguments about it even today: what or who the rubric intimations at and what happens to the cardinal character at the terminal, for case. However, most people agree on the chief features of the supporter, Gabriel Conroy: he is insecure2, restrained3, socially awkward2, has “ defensive feelings of rational and societal high quality ” ( Loomis 150 ) 4 and self-centred.5 In my essay I would wish to concentrate on Gabriel ‘s irresolute nature and examine it through his struggles with Lily and Miss Ivors and besides through his reactions to Gretta ‘s narrative about her first love, Michael Furey.
Gabriel has mentionable ‘quarrels ‘ with Lily, the retainer of Miss Kate and Miss Julia, to whom he merely would wish to be nice ; yet, all his efforts end in failure. He does non cognize how he should handle the immature miss ; whether he should act as her friend or a adult male superior to her.
The first struggle is right in the beginning of the narrative. Gabriel eventually arrives and Lily precedes him into the larder where she helps him off with his greatcoat. A small conversation develops between them, there. After speaking about the conditions, Gabriel switches to a more friendly tone and asks her “ state me, Lily, do you still go to school? ” ( Joyce 123 ) and “ I suppose we ‘ll be traveling to your marrying one of those all right yearss with your immature adult male, eh? ” ( 123 ) . Although Gabriel knows her since her childhood, his inquiries are excessively intimate. He acts as though he would cognize her well and they would be good friends for a long clip. The miss responses bitterly to him and Gabriel, “ coloured, as if he felt he had made a error ” ( 124 ) , realises that it was excessively much and he can non even look at her in his embarrassment. Gabriel should hold been more tactful as this manner he has hurt her, without any purpose.
Their other struggle takes topographic point right after the first 1. Gabriel would wish to rectify his error, “ but alternatively of apologising or explicating what he meant ” 3, he takes a coin from his pocket to give it to Lily as it is Christmas. “ O no, sir! . . . Truly, sir, I would n’t take it ” ( Joyce 124 ) reacts the miss. He has made things even worse by giving her a ‘present ‘ . He wants to demo her how generous he is to the lower category ; yet, he offends the miss more by handling her as a retainer now. It seems that Lily thinks she is more a member of the household, therefore finds Mr. Conroy ‘s gift humiliating. Gabriel claims that his inability to handle the miss adequately is due to his higher instruction but the fact that he gives her money may propose that “ he relies on the amenitiess of his category to keep distance ” .3 Gabriel can non happen the safe in-between manner, therefore he is “ about joging to the stepss ” ( Joyce 124 ) at the terminal to avoid the state of affairs acquiring even more awkward.
Gabriel besides has a important argument with Miss Ivors, with whom he has had a good relationship before. Miss Ivors accuses him of being a “ West Briton ” as a effect of her find that Gabriel writes for The Daily Express ( “ a well-thought-of and comprehensive newspaper, but one that was unquestionably pro-British in its places ” ) 6 under the name G.C. Miss Ivors, as being a patriot, emphasises that she is ashamed of Gabriel as he is more loyal to England than to his ain state: “ Well, I ‘m ashamed of you. . . To state you ‘d compose for a paper like that. I did n’t believe you were a West Briton ” ( Joyce 130 ) . Gabriel does non experience that composing reappraisals in a pro-British paper makes him a West Briton but does non cognize how to respond to her charges. He merely knows that a “ grandiose phrase ” would non make. Finally Miss Ivors says: “ Of class, I was merely jesting ” ( 131 ) and confesses that she does like his reappraisal, though. He interprets her accusal a personal onslaught for which he will counterbalance in his address later.5
Thingss are acquiring even worse subsequently as Miss Ivors asks him whether he and Gretta will travel to an jaunt to the Aran Isles, which is a symbol for Irish roots and patriotism and therefore it is a true representation of whole Ireland ) .6 Gabriel answers no as he is traveling for a cycling circuit with his friends and adds awkwardly, as he is pushed to state her where precisely, that “ good, we normally go to France or Belgium or possibly Germany ” ( Joyce 131 ) . Miss Ivors asks him aggressively “ and have n’t you your ain linguistic communication to maintain in touch with – Irish? ” ( 132 ) for which Gabriel responses “ if it comes to that, you know, Irish is non my linguistic communication ” ( 132 ) . Miss Ivors accuses him of being uninterested in his ain civilization and would wish to cognize the ground why but Gabriel replies nil. For Miss Ivors Gabriel ‘s silence is unacceptable. She finds nil is a good ground for ‘neglecting ‘ one ‘s ain state and linguistic communication. He can non stand up for himself and state that it is a false charge. He is interested in it but non the manner she is, nevertheless, this does non do him a ‘traitor ‘ . His job is that he can non explicate the grounds of his feelings and besides feels uncomfortable as he is obliged to reply in forepart of a immense crowd.7
Gabriel ‘s desire to command over others and the occurrences around himself derives from his insecurity. A piece of grounds for this is his reaction to the narrative of Michael Furey. Gabriel watches his married woman when she is listening to the music, The Lass of Aughrim that Mr D’Arcy plays and “ a sudden tide of joy [ goes ] jumping out of his bosom ” ( Joyce 148 ) as he sees her colored cheeks and reflecting eyes. Although he does non cognize the ground why Gretta ‘s face has changed so much, Gabriel wants to “ hold control of her unusual feelings ” .3 After they leave the Morkan ‘s house, Gabriel intensely longs to “ run after her soundlessly, catch her by the shoulders and say something foolish and fond into her ear ” ( Joyce 148-49 ) . He feels an huge desire to possess her, to rule her. All the manner through, when they are acquiring closer and closer to their hotel, Gabriel thinks about his married woman and their life together. He remembers their happy minutes and wants Gretta to bury “ the old ages of their dull being together ” ( 149 ) . He realises that in the past old ages love affair has disappeared from their matrimony. When Gretta gets off the cab, her touch makes him hankering for her even more after all those memories that has come to his head. When they are traveling up the stepss, he feels that “ his weaponries [ are ] trembling with desire to prehend her ” ( 150 ) . He merely feels secure when the occurrences around himself are calculable and he ‘determines ‘ them, that is, he controls them. “ Though Gabriel remembers their romantic wooing and is overcome with attractive force for Gretta, this attractive force is rooted non in love but in his desire to command her. “ 3 Gabriel imagines what and how will things go on subsequently, nevertheless, it does non even occur to him that something may destroy his programs. His acuteness to acquire Gretta is so tremendous that he does non even willing to gain that she is tired. He is excessively certain about his success and this is the ground why he can non respond adequately subsequently.
After they go to their room in the hotel, things are non traveling harmonizing to Gabriel ‘s programs. Gabriel says to the adult female “ Gretta! “ , as he has imagined in his vision, but the adult female does non respond the manner the adult male wants. As the adult female ‘s face “ looked. . . serious and weary. . . words would non go through Gabriel ‘s lips ” ( Joyce 151 ) ; he realises that “ it [ is ] non the minute yet ” ( 151 ) . He fears that he would go diffident so he starts speaking about Malins who has given his money back ; however, he is non at all interested in that subject, he merely feels that he has to speak about something and he is really annoyed by the expression on Gretta ‘s face. He knows that he can non ‘attack ‘ his married woman and wants her to come to him by herself and “ [ longs ] to be maestro of her unusual temper ” ( 151 ) , to “ overpower her ” . At the terminal Gretta does come to him, by herself, and kisses him for which “ his bosom [ is ] brimming over with felicity ” ( 152 ) . He thinks that his married woman might experience the same, nevertheless, he does non understand why he has become so timid. He manages to do some move towards her, though, but sees that she is still believing about something and wants to cognize what it is. She tells him that she is believing about the vocal Mr D’Arcy played and so “ [ interruptions ] free from him. . . [ runs ] to the bed and [ fells ] her face ” ( 152 ) . He starts inquiring her why she has started shouting but the reply makes him angry. He tries to be dry when Gretta negotiations about the male child who used to sing The Lass of Aughrim but he ever fails to make his end and feels humiliated by his failure. In malice of the fact that he wants to go on the question in a cold tone, his voice becomes “ low and apathetic ” ( 153 ) . Gretta tells him that Michael Furey was her lover in Galway but he died and Gabriel asks ironically “ and what did he decease of so immature, Gretta? Consumption, was it? ” ( 154 ) ; nevertheless, he is taken aback by the response and feels that everything is against him. He is keeping her manus more and more irresolutely as she progresses in her narrative boulder clay she falls asleep. Finally, Gabriel realises “ how hapless a portion he, her hubby, [ has ] played in [ Gretta ‘s ] life ” ( 155 ) and that he “ will ne’er be “ maestro ” “ .3
This incident is another piece of grounds that Gabriel is non self-confident. He has felt lecherousness for his married woman and is unafraid that everything will travel harmonizing to his programs ; nevertheless, when it occurs to him that his married woman is non in that temper, at all and that she is believing about her late lover he does non cognize what he should make: he becomes irresolute. He can non respond in such an unexpected state of affairs and feels awkwardly. In malice of the fact that Gabriel is Gretta ‘s hubby, he is non moving like that. He does non stand up for himself, his matrimony and his feelings. He is non covetous, does non convey her to book, and neither does dispute with her, even when he has the right to make so. He does nil at all. He merely can non get by with the state of affairs. It seems that they have a happy matrimony and they do hold some feelings for each other, however, Gabriel can non demo her that she hurts him really much by stating him this narrative as he is paralysed. He wants her so much but he merely can non show himself, he instead leaves her alone in her heartache. He is non at all moving like a adult male as he can non manage the job self-confidently.
After all, we can reason that the incidents with Lily and Miss Ivors, which lead him to awkward, uncomfortable state of affairss, prove that Gabriel is non a confident individual: he is really insecure in certain instances and can non support himself even if he will be humiliated. In connexion with his married woman, Gretta, we can state that by hearing the narrative of Michael Furey, he is so paralysed that he can non respond in the manner a adult male should: assertively. All in all we can presume that Gabriel Conroy lacks self-assertiveness.