Joyce, James-Gretta's epiphany
Gabriel (the protagonist of the story) and his wife Gretta have come back from the Christmas Party to their hotel, in Dublin. Gabriel tries to seduce his wife but she looks absent-minded. He’s surprised and happy when she kisses him.
Since Gretta still looks thoughtful, Gabriel asks her what she’s thinking about. At first she doesn’t answer; then she bursts into tears and tells her husband that she’s thinking about the song she heard at the party and she’s crying for a person she used to know a long ago.
That person was Michael Furey, her past lover; he used to sing that song. Now she can clearly see him; particularly she remembers his big dark eyes. Not only does Gretta’s epiphany evoke her half-forgotten memories, but it also bring about a new awareness of her relationship with Gabriel.
Gabriel gets angry and jealous. He feels ashamed and takes pity upon himself. He turns back because he doesn’t want Gretta to understand his feelings. All that reveals that he’s not self-confident.
Gabriel, who is shocked by what he has just learnt from his wife, holds her hand for a moment and then walks towards the window.