Thursday, October 5th, 2017...7:20 pmmooree

“The Dead” from Gretta’s POV

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At the corner of Winetavern street, Gretta, Gabriel, Mr. Bartell D’Arcy, and Miss O’Callaghan met a cab. Gabriel sat attentively and close at Gretta’s side, as any loyal husband should. The party was great fun and a grand showing of true Irish hospitality, she thought, however there was something holding her mind hostage : the song. Gretta stared out the window of the cab and thought of him. The boy she loved in Connacht, who sang her songs like the one she had heard tonight. She remembered his devotion to her; he had died for her, proving his loyalty through an act unlike anything anyone had done for her before, even her husband. The others engaged in meaningless conversation that she by no means could take part in as she the thought of him had overcome her and taken her prisoner.

They stopped at the hotel and descended from the cab. She leaned on Gabriel’s arm, as an attempt to pull herself from her sad past and focus on the present. She tried to focus on her husband and the warmth radiating from him. Her touch on him was light and soft. It was all she could give with the thought of another man on her mind. She could feel his eyes on her and she knew he was lusting for her. His passion was nothing like the love she had experienced when she was a girl however, and despite her best efforts, her mind returned to him.

The porter led Gretta and Gabriel to their room, where Gabriel informed him they were to be woken at 8am and they would need only the light from the street tonight.

Gretta took to the mirror and began undressing herself. From the corner of her eye she saw Gabriel throwing his coat over the couch and moving towards her.

Closing her eyes and taking in a deep breath, she resolved to put aside these feelings of sorrow and be present with him.

His voice, full of lust and desire called hers.

“Gretta !”

Another night of pretending was ahead of her and she moved to kiss her living husband.


  • I like the extended prisoner metaphor, as it manages to create a parallel between her past and her present that’s ambiguously pointed to in the final line (“her living husband”). You also imbue Gabriel with more overt sexuality than I feel he is presented with in the text, which lends an interesting alternate reading to the novella, but not inconsistent with his ultimate feelings that whatever he may feel for Gretta is not necessarily true love.

  •   Professor Seiler
    October 11th, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Emma, I’m with Noah: the phrase “her living husband” is just so spot-on. I’m also taken by your imagination of how Gretta has trained or accustomed herself to focusing on Gabriel, in part as a respite from introspection.

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