James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882 into a middle class Catholic family.
Joyce went to two Jesuit schools, study modern languages at University College where he graduated.
Finding life in Ireland an obstacle to his own artistic development, he travel in Europe
Joyce was considered one of the prophets of Modernism. He died in 1941.
The relationship between Joyce and Ireland was complex. He seems to have rejected everything that was Irish, but all of Joyce’s works are centred on Ireland and on Dublin.
His self-imposed exile give him the objectivity he needed to write about Ireland with the necessary emotional and intellectual detachment.
It is the last and longest story of Dubliners and it is the climax to all the other stories.
In is set during the Christmas party organized by Morkan sisters: the central character of The Dead, Gabriel, is the last representative of all failed Dubliners
At the end of this story we can see one of the best examples of what Joyce means by epiphany: when the song heard by Gretta, Gabriel’s wife, suddenly brings up half-forgotten memories in her mind.
In the passage we read Gretta reveals to Gabriel that when she heard a song she remembered a boy she used to know long ago. The revelation is not sudden but gradual. That boy, Michael Fury died for her love.
Once his wife is asleep Gabriel reflects on how poor a part he has played in her life, realizes he has never really know his wife and feels his own pettiness.
In the end he abandons his jealousy frustrations and regrets and feels elevated to the world of the spirit, the region of the dead, symbolically represented by the snow that is falling all over Ireland, uniting the living and the dead.