Joyce’s “The Dead” & Eliot’s “ Prufrock ”. Comparative Analysis.
Gabriel makes a rude joke at the expense of the maid Lily; to cope, he fidgets, adjusts his clothes, and gives her a tip.
Gabriel becomes uneasy when his wife makes a joke about him (galoshes).
Gabriel is afraid of being “pretentious” when he addresses people yet openly admits that his vocabulary is “above” the others.
* One theme presented is that a full life is achieved through the experience of passion.
“The Dead”: “Reflecting on his own controlled, passionless life, he realizes that life is short, and those who leave the world like Michael Furey, with great passion, in fact live more fully than people like himself.” Gabriel realizes that he has never experienced the type of passion Gretta describes in her story about Michael Furey.
In “Prufrock,” readers get the sense that his fear will prevent him from ever truly “knowing” those “braceleted arms” or “forcing a moment to its crisis.” “In short, [he] was afraid.”
Whether due to fear or not, the message is the same: Living with passion is optimal, and a person living without it is either “better off dead” (Gabriel) or perhaps dead already (Prufrock).