In what ways does James Joyce present Irish aspirations for independence in regard to the following quote from "The Dead"? "The time had come for him to set out on his journey westwards."
This answer probably won't be much use to you because I'm not too sure on the point myself but here goes. In 'The Dead' some of the people that Gabriel meets at the party 'play' at being Irish i.e. they exchange a few phrases in the Irish language when they meet but haven't taken the trouble to learn Irish properly. However, one girl that he meets (can't recall name - sorry) seems genuinely patriotic and criticises Gabriel for not taking holidays in his own country, preferring as he does to look east to Europe. We have to see a bit of Joyce himself in Gabriel. Joyce did leave Ireland for Europe and was immersed in European language and culture but before he did he travelled west to ancestral Joyce country in County Galway and found a wife there, Nora Barnacle. It seems to me that Joyce is acknowledging that true Irishness - whatever that might mean - is not to be found in middle class, educated circles in Dublin and the east, but to the west. I'm not saying he took Nora with him to Europe solely as a kind of bank of true Irishness, but I would suggest that that was part of her attraction for him. Now I haven't mentioned independence aspirations in this answer because I don't think 'The Dead' offers any real clues on the issue but you will find some pointers in other stories in 'Dubliners' such as 'Ivy Day in the Committee Room' and I think in a few other references to Parnell in the collection. Hope this helps, if only a little.