Joyce's final story in The Dubliners, "The Dead," is a narrative that indicates that Ireland may have the spiritual resources to overcome its paralysis. These resources come from the human relationships that evoke sentiment and understanding.
Central to this story is the epiphany of Gabriel Conroy, a realization that he has been "a nervous well-meaning sentimentalist" when his wife truly has undergone a heart-breaking experience. She reveals that she had a boy who died for love of her; then, she cries herself to sleep. As snow falls against the window, Gabriel contemplates his identity and mortality as well as the finality of death which no one can escape. Certainly this motif of the irrevocability of death prevails in such poems of Emily Dickinson such as "Because I Could Not Stop for Death."
In addition, Gabriel ponders this new knowledge about his wife and his life and his identity. Of course, life and identity are considerations of Miss Dickinson, also. Then, Gabriel dreamily watches the snowflakes, envisioning an image of Michael Furey outside the window. Certainly, both the snow, "like the descent of their last end," and the image of Furey evoke the life journey toward death, a prevalent theme of Emily Dickinson.