Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture & Education 2014
ISBN 978-967-13140-0-5

Tapping Gabriel Conroy: An Investigation into the Mind Style of the Protagonist of The Dead

John Mark Storey

Universiti Malaysia Sabah


This study examines the mind-style of a well-known fictional character, Gabriel Conroy from James Joyce’s short story, The Dead, in an attempt to better understand the stifling paralysis that characterises the protagonist’s actions and behaviour in the narrative. This examination takes the form of a linguistic analysis of syntactic patterns and transitivity relations in the Free Indirect Discourse that characterizes Gabriel’s speech and thought presentation, drawing on references from literary theory (specifically psychoanalytical and deconstructivist theory). The study concludes that patterns of intransivity and syntactic similarity in the discourse reinforce the impression of Gabriel as neurotic and unsure of his identity, while his imaginative conceptualization of the falling snow in the final scene corresponds with an epiphany, a moment of self-realisation, which holds with it the promise of personal transformation.


mind-style; transitivity analysis; free indirect discourse

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