What does Gabriel learn about Gretta and himself in "The Dead"?

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Your question refers to the "epiphany" or revelation that Gabriel undergoes at the end of the story. What is key to focus on is how the rest of the story builds up to this moment of revelation or self truth that Gabriel experiences. The trigger for this epiphany comes with Gretta´s narration of her first - and biggest - love with Michael Furey. From Gretta´s description of Michael, their relationship and his death, it is clear that she had a truer and more real love with him than she ever had with Gabriel. Consider her description of Michael as "very delicate" and then such statements as:

-I can see him so plainly, she said after a moment. Such eyes as he had: big dark eyes! And such an expression in them - an expression!

The repetition and amplification of such details as his eyes and expression clearly shows Gretta´s feelings of admiration and love for him. It is important to focus on the impact of this revelation on Gabriel:

Gabriel felt humilated by the failure of his irony and by...

(The entire section contains 562 words.)

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