What's the climax of "The Dead" by James Joyce?

Expert Answers info

Christopher Jerde eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseLibrarian


calendarEducator since 2018

write951 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

"The Dead" climaxes when Gretta shares the story of the boy who loved her, Michael Furey. She loved him greatly, but often, the already sick Michael insisted on meeting her in the damp chill and then later died. Gretta believes because of that, he died for her love and she still greatly regards him, even after her marriage to Gabriel.

As Gretta sleeps, Gabriel's ardor cools (he's spent much of the evening hoping to have some sex with Gretta before they go to bed) and he begins to think about his own life compared to Michael's brief existence. Even though Michael died a young man with no great professional or social success, he left his mark regardless. His life had more meaning than Gabriel's longer one.

Gabriel is reevaluating his own life as he watches the snow fall on "the living and the dead" alike. He realizes he will not live forever, that one day he will become only a memory and then more than likely forgotten. However, Joyce does not present this as a sad thing, but as the reason...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 714 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2019

write812 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences



check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,550 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial