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Final Sentence of "The Dead"


The Dead, James Joyce, 1914

Gabriel Conroy reflects on his wife's former lover, Michael Furey. As a young boy, Michael stood outside in freezing rainy weather, throwing gravel at her window. He had heard that she was leaving town, and told her he didn’t want to live. A week later, she’d been told he had died of exposure.

[Of interest to all lovers of English literature: the last paragraph of this passage, and the final paragraph of the short story “The Dead,” is often held up as one of the finest paragraphs ever written in the English language].

Joyce, James. "The Dead." Dubliners. London: Grant Richards, 1914. N. pag. Online-literature.com. The Literature Network. Web. 21 Apr. 2016.

The last sentence of the passage, "His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead," implies that Gabriel


feels like he is dying.


has fainted and fallen to the ground.


succumbs to his illness.


fears he's going to hell.


dies at the end of the story.