The Dead Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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In James Joyce's "The Dead," what is the significance of the snow?

In James Joyce's "The Dead," the snow is significant because it symbolizes the universal attributes of death and the hold that the past can have upon the living. Just as snow in winter is inevitable, so death will come to all.

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The symbol of snow stretches throughout the entire story "The Dead" by James Joyce.

In the very beginning of the story, the snow is beginning to fall. Gabriel comes in wearing galoshes and brushing off the snow. We see right from the start that he is resistant to the snow, brushing it off, wearing a large overcoat and galoshes, encouraging his wife also to cover herself and protect herself against the snow.

Later on, we see this paragraph, which uses the word "snow" three times, describing different settings.

People, perhaps, were standing in the snow on the quay outside, gazing up at the lighted windows and listening to the waltz music. The air was pure there. In the distance lay the park where the trees were weighted with snow. The Wellington Monument wore a gleaming cap of snow that flashed westward over the white field of Fifteen Acres.

In this short story, snow is the uniting symbol between death and life. Just as Gabriel is resistant to the snow, so he is resistant to death. In his...

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