Psychological Analysis Of The Character Of Gabriel In The Dead By James Joyce

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“The Dead” by James Joyce is an astonishing piece of work. By using psychological theory to analyze the character of Gabriel, we can examine his thoughts and anticipate that he is a nurturing person.

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Throughout the story, we can see that Gabriel is loved by his family, knowing that he is considered the favorite nephew. His two aunts are longing for his arrival to their annual party, worrying that he will never show. This can depict the stress that is put on Gabriel to be the man of the hour. This stress is shown when Gabriel is preparing for his speech, Miss Ivors runs off and Gabriel is destined to get her to stay. We can see that Gabriel regrets what he told her, he continues to replay this conversation in his head until he has to give his speech. He refuses to believe that Miss Ivors is leaving due to him because he knows people think fondly of him. He feels that people may see him as an offensive man and that idea haunts him.

Hints of anxiety can be found in the character of Gabriel, which takes over his every thought. When he is preparing for the speech, he wants to say the right thing. He worries his views on things might not be the same as the people around him, but we can see that his speech turns out fine and that he moves his audience at the party to tears. Once he finishes his duties of cutting the turkey, he sits down to eat in silence. This may symbolize how some people with anxiety need time to themselves to recuperate. Knowing from experience it takes time and encouragement to overcome a fear, Gabriel had to gain confidence in his abilities. His two aunts Kate and Julia always talked good things about him and viewed him as a smart and intelligent man. Their support in his abilities gave him strength. When we are surrounded by people who uplift us, it makes us believe in ourself.

Gabriel wants to march to the beat of his own drum. He mentions that he is sick of his own country, this symbolizes that he wants change. He becomes frustrated while his nation is against becoming culturally knowledgeable. When Miss Ivors criticizes him for wanting to explore other countries, this pushes him even more to want out. In every aspect of Gabriel’s life, he begs for change. Change is good because it allows one to gain new experiences.

At the end of the story, when Gabriel is talking to Gretta about a past love, we can see the feeling of isolation by Gabriel. As he watches her sleep, thoughts rush through his head that continue to put him down. He begins to realize the love that he has for his wife, which causes him to cry. Gabriel’s anxious thoughts are vanished at this point and we can see the true character that he was meaning to be all along. By listening to one’s heart instead of the small voice, these relationships are able to form which in turn can push aside the feeling of isolation.

Psychological theory examines the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of a person. By analyzing Gabriel’s thoughts, we are able to relate to him on a personal level. His interactions with people determine his thoughts and feelings. 

10 Jun 2021

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