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Gabriel's Regrets


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.

Among Gabriel's deepest regrets about his life is that


he's dying too soon.


he has never loved.


he is alone among the shades of the past.


his wife does not love him.


his illness requires that he leave his homeland.