One thing that I really enjoyed about “The Dead”was that nothing really happened. What I mean by that is that nothing big or monumental happened, like the house catching on fire or someone having a heart attack in the middle of Christmas dinner. From an outsider’s standpoint, the entire novella was just another night. So what fascinated me was the fact that Joyce had the capability to take extremely normal situations and make them extraordinary simply by taking a deep dive into the human mind. I feel like I am so conditioned to be entertained by books that are very plot driven–tangible stuff happens to the characters and they have to respond to it in tangible ways, and so the story proceeds. So when reading “The Dead,” I was intrigued by how powerful the story was, even though it centered around a single man, during a single event, and the thoughts in his head. I found this video on YouTube that explains this whole idea pretty well.
I really like when he talks about how the characters are ordinary and people that any other writer would never write about. I think it speaks to the great ability that Joyce had to encompass humanity in what it really is–just normal people going through normal struggles but with emotions that create importance. And they create importance to readers because they come from ordinary people. Humanity and the human mind is anything but simple, and “The Dead” is a perfect example of this. Despite taking place in a setting that would normally have people brushing it off and moving on to the next exciting thing, Joyce creates a narrative that leaves us asking so many questions, and it makes for a really fascinating experience.