How did Joyce choose his titles carefully for different potential meanings in Dubliners?
For the most part, the titles of the stories in Dubliners each coincide with either the character that has an epiphany, the place where an epiphany occurs or the event that causes the epiphany. For instance, in "Araby," the young boy's epiphany occurs at the Araby bazaar. Epiphanies also occur in "The Boarding House" and in the committee room, in "Ivy Day in the Committee Room." Characters that have epiphanies are "Eveline," "The Sisters," and "Two Gallants." As far as events are concerned, the young man in "After the Race" has his epiphany after the race. The boys in "An Encounter," have their epiphany after that encounter.
This theory covers most of the stories in the collection. It does not, however, cover "The Dead." This story's title is chosen to represent the people who attend the party in the story. A close analysis reveals that the people at the party are not truly living. This is best represented by the passage that ends the story:
His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
This final story completes the collection in a most profound way. It sums up Joyce's opinion about his home country of Ireland, saying, as is stated above, that the people at the party, and in Ireland in general, are not truly living.