In The Dead by James Joyce, is there anything ironic about the substance of Gabriel's speech? If so, what?
Gabriel's speech is ironic for a number of reasons. For one thing, he refers to "our" country, meaning Ireland. Yet it's clear that this is a man who doesn't feel much loyalty towards his native land. This earns him the opprobrium of Miss Ivors, who calls him a "West Briton," a term of abuse for an Irish Unionist. Gabriel goes on to refer to the reputation of the Irish for their great hospitality, which in the context of British domination is ironic indeed. In allowing themselves to remain in a state of political and cultural subordination to the British, the Irish have indeed been way too hospitable to their colonial overlords. Gabriel's unionism is a prime example of just such "hospitality."
Later on in his speech, Gabriel enjoins his audience to cherish in their hearts the...
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