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Encounter with Alien Reality - Book Report/Review Example

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Thus an encounter with the alien reality may give a rude shock to the individual. When one perceives something which affects one emotionally from the point of view of the 'other', it might, in all probability , bring on a lot of emotional and spiritual upheaval in oneself.
In their different encounters with alien reality, the poet Keats and Gabriel Conroy, the central character in James Joyce's story, "The Dead", both experience a feeling of being forlorn and both long for a peaceful death. While the feeling is spiritual in the case of Keats, it is emotional in the case of Conroy.
"The Dead" is a richly emotional short story in" The Dubliners", a collection of short stories by James Joyce. Gabriel Conroy, a professor who also writes a column for a newspaper, attends the annual dance party given by the Misses Morkan, Julia and Kate , accompanied by his wife Gretta. At the party he meets his colleague Miss Ivors, who asks him whether he was not ashamed of writing for a certain newspaper and calls him a West Briton. She argues with him about his choice for a holiday, saying that he ought to visit his own land. After dinner, Gabriel gives a speech thanking the Misses Morkan for their hospitality. As the guests are leaving, Gabriel sees his wife Gretta listening raptly to a song sung by the tenor, Bartell D'Arcy. Her intense concentration on the music makes him feel a great tenderness towards her and arouses him. Later, in their hotel room, Gabriel comes to know that Gretta had been so moved by the song because it was the favourite song of Michael Furey, her lover when she was a teenager. Gretta tells him that Furey had died for her. Gabriel realizes what a poor part he had played in her life, and feels the nearness of death.
"Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats is a poignantly beautiful poem which he composed when he heard the joyful song of the nightingale in 1819. He begins the poem expressing a feeling of such great happiness on hearing the song of the nightingale that his "heart aches" .He wants to fly away with the bird on the wings of poetry. As the poem progresses, the poet becomes somber and thinks of death. Finally he bids adieu to the bird which flies away.
In "The Dead", Gabriel is disturbed by the words of Miss Ivors at the party, where she indirectly accuses him of being a traitor to the cause of the Irish as he writes for The Daily Express, saying that she was ashamed of him. She also calls him a" West Briton" and gets into an argument with him about his coming cycling tour in Europe .Instead of European languages, she wants him to keep in touch with Irish, goading him to retort "Irish is not my language". (Joyce 187) Gabriel is made to feel like the 'other' in his own country for writing a literary column every week in a pro- English newspaper, and for preferring to go to Europe for vacation. Miss Ivors' unpleasant behavior rankles in Gabriel's mind for a long time and he even thinks of changing his speech to give her a fitting retort. He fees that "she had no right to call him a West Briton before people, even in joke"(Joyce 188)
In contrast, when he hears the song of the nightingale, Keats feels a sense of peace and tranquility,"being too happy in thine happiness." (6)(Keats ) In the beginning of the poem the poet does not feel the alien reality as a different entity, but identifies ...Show more


Everything seems to be different when one exchanges one's own viewpoint for that of an 'other'. The entire meaning of life may change when man exchanges his perspective for that of a bird or sees some incident through the eyes of a woman. The concept of 'otherness' is central to the understanding of different individuals or groups.
Author : zbradtke
Encounter with Alien Reality essay example
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