last past the post
Ah, last (and most shamefully late) post.
I did enjoy Ivy Day (more) after getting the parenthetical asides on Irish history in class (and the idea that hospitality is literally for Losers), but right now what I’m really interested in is the repetition that makes The Dead so… lifeless (our dicussion about how repeating things in class – i.e. the “no, no, no” of the person spoken to as Father Keon – has the effect of negating the original meaning). There is a certain stale ritualistic rote-ness (yes, redundant) about the entire affair; parts of it seem like a play that has been staged year after tired year: enter cousin Fred in Act II Scene II (drunk), cue Gabriel’s speech, Gabriel carving the goose, the murmur of dining, the dance steps danced year after year. Somebody in class pointed out the many instances in which Joyce suggests death via diction (“still discomposed”, “toddling”, etc.), and I feel like the repetition of action really reinforces that feeling. And yes, paralysis, as also yevgenyyevtushenko addresses, seems to be the end result of the story that Gabriel tells (and ironically mirrors) of his grandfather’s malfunctioning beast, circling round and round. The lack of transience resulting from the lead-heavy repetition, (unlike the Michael Fury’s short/transient life), really does suck all the life from the characters. And snow falls on them all.