Not Your Average Feast - Essay on the Dead

Not Your Average Feast
Parties are events that people are eager to attend. After a difficult and painstaking week of work or school, a party to start off the weekend is a highly anticipated event for a person. Parties and gatherings also occur in celebration of special holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. These gatherings serve to make family tight-knit during the special holiday seasons. These gatherings also are meant to bring happiness and joy into the lives of many people. Contrary to a typical party, the Morkan family gathering was one of sorrowful revelation. Unlike the happiness and good qualities that are usually revealed by a person at a party, the qualities of the characters at the Morkan family gathering are those of sadness and distress. The dying state of Ireland is reflected in the characters that attend the feast, a dying state with little hope of a turnaround. The feast serves to not only exemplify the dying state of Ireland, but also showcase the inner death of Gabriel Conroy, after he learns his wife’s revelation of the past.
As seen in the vast majority of Joyce’s previous short stories in his collection Dubliners, Ireland is thought of as a country of corruption and failure. Joyce’s title of this short story, “The Dead”, showcases how lifeless some characters in the story are, a reflection of the dying state of Ireland. The dying state of Ireland is showcased by the Morkan sisters, Kate and Julia. Aunt Julia is described as having grey hair, and “grey also, with darker shadows, was her large, flaccid face.” Aunt Kate is described as being more vivacious than Aunt Julia, with a face like a “shriveled red apple.” The diction through the words like flaccid and shriveled, and the description of Aunt Julia as having grey hair and a grey face, show the aging of the Irish community. This aging that unfortunately leads to death, death that hinders any hope of Irish recovery. Death of Ireland is also revealed through Freddy Malins, with his...