I Morti, la paralisi Irlandese

The Dead is the last story included in Dubliners (1914) by James Joyce. Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories whose protagonists are conditioned by rigid canons of personal, religious and social conformity and can’t  free themselves (non possono liberarsi) from frustration, alcoholism or inertia. The stories cover four steps of man’s life: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life. The Dead is outside this pattern: it was added (aggiunta) later and it seems to offer a less negative “epiphany”. The epiphany is typical of Joyce’s style; it is a  sudden revelation(rivelazione improvvisa)  of a hidden (nascosto) thought or of a personal inadequacy. The story is about a Christmas period banquet, an annual party given by Gabriel’s aunts.  During dinner people talk about everyday questions regarding Dublin, life in Ireland and nationalism revealing an attachment to past traditions and a paralyzed mentality. After the party Gretta, Gabriel Conroy’ wife, hears a music which reminds her a past boyfriend who died very young, after giving her farewell. Gabriel Conroy and his wife Gretta return back to their hotel where Gabriel, who has felt superior all the evening, realizes that he does not even know his wife and her feelings. Looking out of the window at the falling snow (neve che cade) he feels there is yet (ancora) some hope for himself and for Ireland. Joyce is considered a pioneer and an innovator in novel writing as to themes, language and style. He introduced the stream of consciousness technique: he followed the workings of his characters’ minds as they flow(fluiscono), without apparent connection but based on individual experience and on the collective memory of man (myths, tales and songs). Though Joyce was a voluntary exiled, and little involved in the political conflicts in Ireland, he never forgot Irish culture and traditions and set his novels and stories in Dublin, the emblem of Irish “paralysis”. John Huston perfectly portrays the setting of the short story in his film conveying the idea of immobility and stiffness which is at the bases of Joyce’s work.