Gabriel is the main character of the short story written by James Joyce. He is the pivot of the story and majorly the story revolves around him till the end. The story is all about the development of his character from start till end. Showing the way his emotional and mental states change and twists into each other putting him in a trivial and twisted mental state. At the beginning of the story, Gabriel is shown as a gentleman walking in from the heavy snow.
He is very well organized and behaved or at least this is what he appears to be. He wanted to prove himself as a better educated and sophisticated amongst the rest of the guests. Also in his opinion, Ireland is a backward country and he is embarrassed of the fact that his wife belongs from Ireland and to add to it, from a rural area of the Ireland. He also had a confrontation about the issue and his ideology about the Ireland while dancing with one of his old friends.
This forced him to feel a discomfort in his hearts of heart. When he entered the house where the dance party was organized, he was welcomed by a young maid, Lily. He was at first really nice to her, he joked about her man. Her reply was pretty harsh to him. This made Gabriel feeling awkward and a little disturbed. To overcome the disrespect he gave Lily a coin for the Christmas. This was his effort to show that he is the master.
Already disturbed by Lily’s behavior, he was also worried about the speech he had to deliver. At first he had a mind to showcase himself as a highly educated man in the party. After some time he changed his mind again. He wanted to omit some high literary quotes from the speech so that others might not think that he is making himself appear as highly educated person amongst all. Gabriel was forced to change his long ago idea of the life. He always thought that the ones that are dead should be remembered only as dead and the past and the present is what one should cherish. But when his wife remembered her past romance in an innocent way, he had to rethink about his idea of life. This was a twist in his life.
He never had been taken away by the emotions but this time they did pinch him. As the heavily snowing night passed he is taken aback by the snow. He finds snow as a medium to connect to the dead and the emotions that he would have never felt before. He now comes to realize that the position of the dead and the ones who are alive remains the same and equal to each other depending upon their importance in once life. The end is left open for the reader and with a hope that Gabriel will change his thinking and idea of life for the better of his and his family’s life. In short, Gabriel’s whole life was turmoil of his mental states. He was always confused about the decisions and the implications of his life. And once again after knowing about the past romance of his wife, he was in turmoil about his own mental state and ideologies.