In “The Dead”, the author clarifies how norms and rituals are manifested in Gabriel’s character and mind. Moreover, the author clarifies the inability of the main character to understand these norms, indicating that a cultural contact can influence the norms of an individual within a society. The role of Gabriel in the story is important in the comparison of his character with Winterbourne’s character.
Gabriel is an important psychological issue in the story due to his self importance. According to Gabriel, his education made him superior above others; hence he thought that he had the right to despise other people. His inflated ego establishes an erroneous self- image that could be changed at the first serious conflict (Joyce 23).The ego of Gabriel is challenged because of three women: Gretta, Lilly and Miss. Ivors.
Gabriel had conflicting feelings concerning Daisy, but the readers are left to wonder if he is actually shallow because of his aunt’s influence on him or whether he is not able to see the reality. Moreover, the audience is left to figure out whether his norms are a manifestation of the inflexibility that Daisy thinks of him or the incapability to realize something outside the social context. It appears that Winterbourne had an affair with an old lady with whom they were at pains to hide from any public scrutiny. However, he pursues his personal moral freedom hypocritically. When Winterbourne first met Daisy, he made an observation about her; he decided that Daisy was a simple minded person whose attitude was likely to get modified by a few deferential remarks.In the “Daisy Miller”, the writer illustrates the character of Winterbourne that was not easily influenced by approval or disapproval of others, but had an interest to device mechanisms to prevent them from disturbing his motives of his personal pleasure (James 34).
The attitudes of Winterbourne towards Daisy cover a dishonest nature that is revealed severally despite his attempts to restrain them. This inhumane character is as a result of his viewing reality through a Puritan romantic manner, but the reality is that, he is a wicked sexual monster who depicts Daisy as an object to be sexually manipulated. Winterbourne’s social and sexual attitudes towards others illustrate his character of reductionism, since he regarded Daisy as a simple and easily managed person .The author realized the kind of character he created in Winterbourne by using him as a tool to enhance an important social theme of epiphany.In conclusion, epiphany plays a central role in the development of the characters of Winterbourne and Daisy Miller, but the differences observed in the similarities occur in the manner in which they achieve self realization at the end of the stories. Winterbourne is depicted as an individual blindfolded by his personal innate character that belongs to a society characterized by a class system and social norms.
Whereas, Gabriel experienced conflict that made him not to understand himself. Thus, his psychological problems prove that he was in a world of his own (Joyce 36).