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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Critique of Vincent J. Cheng’s Reading of Joyce’s “The Dead” by Eric Vaughn

I have to be honest and say that I was rather confused as to what point Cheng was trying to make at the beginning of his article. The long and loaded sentences left me slightly bewildered, however as the work went on I developed a strong appreciation for Cheng’s attention to detail and research. I will focus on the end of Cheng’s article because it deals with the end of the story and that was my favorite part. I couldn’t imagine what Joyce was trying to say in those last few paragraphs when Gabriel was torn between his role of power, lust, and the sentimental feelings for his wife. I truly liked Cheng’s reading that Gabriel represented the European forces that repress Irish society and life. Cheng goes on to say that the change in Gabriel’s attitude towards the end referred to the realization of his ego-dominance that strives for mastery and hierarchy, helping him to remember the freedom of the Irish spirit and recognize the people that he marginalized. I knew that the last line was powerful, and meant more than I readily understood which is why I was so excited by Cheng’s interpretation that the snow falls equally on everything and everyone without any preference for one particular thing to symbolize the unity of all that is generally oppressed by the ego and desire for colonial conquest found in other nations. As Cheng says, there is only “uncompartmentalized, non-hierarchical sameness”.

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