In Joyce's "The Dead," who are the dead of the title?

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The place to look at is the end of this amazing story that so powerfully introduces ideas of mortality and our own ephemeral nature as human beings. Having been told the story of Michael Furey by his wife, Gretta, and his tragic end, he comes to contemplate the way in which his Aunt Julia is going to be numbered among the dead soon, which in turn leads him to realise the way in which they are all slowly but surely dying:

One by one they were all becoming shades... His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He...

(The entire section contains 314 words.)

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