Culture of Identity

“He was undecided about the lines from Robert Browning for he feared they would be above the heads of his hearers. Some quotation that they could recognize from Shakespeare or from the Melodies would be better. The indelicate clacking of the men’s heels and the shuffling of their soles reminded him that their grade of culture differed from his.”

Joyce, J. (1996). “The Dead” from Dubliners. Penguin Books, pg. 179

“The Dead” highlights how people (like Gabriel) feel the need to change their identity so they might better fit in with the culture of those around them. Gabriel worries that he will appear too sophisticated if he uses a certain quote, so he intentionally changes his speech so that he might not appear of too high a class for those around him, shifting his very identity in order to please his companions for the evening.