And Sunrise On VeldAwareness “Araby” by James Joyce and “A Sunrise On TheVeld” by Doris Lessing are both short stories in which the protagonistsgained a consciousness that was beyond themselves. The main characters are bothinitiated into new realities and truths of which they were not previously aware.
Both short stories will be examined with reflections according to the type ofinitiation that was experienced, the nature of the narrators, the similar anddissimilar aspects of both characters and various components of the shortstories. In the two stories, both characters were experiencing an initiation orawareness of new actualities that were outside of themselves. The maincharacters both painfully learned that this initiation was beyond their control.
It was impossible for them to ignore the new realities, which they both came tounderstand. The new found awareness was so powerful that it changed each boysentire outlook and they both began to see the world through new eyes. The typeof initiation both characters had was a distressing journey from innocence toknowledge and experience. The two narrators had different attitudes andreactions to the initiation experience. In Araby, the reader learns of theboys initiation in the final sentence: “Gazing up into the darkness Isaw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned withanguish and anger.” 1 The character had a negative reaction to his newawareness. His realization caused him to have feelings of shame, anguish, andanger. He was possessed and controlled by his passion for Mangans oldersister. His ideals of the girl were not realistic but were futile and vain. Thegirl drew out feelings in him and he discovered that feelings must bereciprocated and the downsides that love can be painful. He had a difficult timeaccepting his own weakness. He was in distress because he had stopped for amoment and gazed up into the darkness and realized that his previous feelingswere wonderful but the only reality existed in his feelings. It had no existencebeyond how he felt and the understanding of this was painful for the character.
The protagonist of A Sunrise On The Veld was more accepting towards hisexperience of initiation than that of the character in Araby. The boysattitude was stoical: “…this is how life goes one, by living things dyingin anguish.” 2 His feelings were of acceptance. In the beginning, the boyfelt in control of himself in every way, and came to feel in control of theworld in which he lived. This attitude changed completely after his encounterwith the dying buck. He accepted the fact that there was nothing he could do tohelp and that some things were not in his power and were beyond his ability tocontrol. He came to an awareness of his own limitations and accepted theinevitable. The character suffered however and felt anger, but also he wassatisfied with what he realized about the cruelty of nature and life. There wereseveral similarities and differences between the central characters. The twoprotagonists were both male and were young in age. Each was overcome andenthusiastic towards their feelings of delight and became aware of the negativeside to joy. The boys were imaginative and romantic about their individualpassions. They were both prompted by something or someone outside of themselves.
The characters held an appreciation for beauty. The type of beauty the boysappreciated differed. The character in Araby felt emotional about a human beingand the boy in A Sunrise On The Veld felt a love for nature. Both charactersexperienced an impatience and eagerness towards their obsessions. The boy inAraby could not wait to visit the bazaar, as the boy in A Sunrise On The Veldwas eager to wake up and go into the vast fields of nature. One character wasovercome by the morning, the nature and was exhilarated to be a part of it all.
Similarly, the boy in Araby had the same feeling, however he was falling in lovewith a girl. One had a connection with nature and the other felt a connectionwith a person. They felt a oneness with the object of their love. They tried tobreakdown the boundaries of their isolation. Both passions brought them out oftheir aloneness and loneliness. A difference in characters was that the boy inAraby was passive, inactive, and reflective about his passion. The focus was onhimself and how he felt about his friends sister. He was an introvert whilethe character in the second story was an extrovert being active and involved inhis love for nature; he was more aware of what he was doing. In addition, theboys pride in Araby took over his feelings for the girl, which weredestructive and almost destroyed him. The girl had a ruinous influence on him asshe occupied his mind taking him away from his sleep and schoolwork. She hauntedhis mind when he was not around her. In A Sunrise On The Veld, the character hada purposeful obsession. One that taught him valuable lessons about life, forexample, that nature can be hostile, and not to take it for granted. There was adifference in what the boys learned from their experiences. The boy in Arabylearned something about himself. He learned that his love for the girl wasone-sided, unreal and its only basis was in his feelings. It was not a mutualfeeling and therefore may have destroyed what he felt for her. However, theboys joy for nature in A Sunrise On The Veld probably did not go away evenafter witnessing the buck being devoured by ants. He learned about death andthat existence is finite. There is a difference also, in the sources of the painof the characters. One felt and empathized with a bucks suffering and theother boy felt his own pain from within himself. One exceptional similaritybetween both characters was that they both felt pain deeply and both suffered.
Both authors incorporated techniques for developing the general idea of theshort stories through the settings and images. The setting in Araby was inDublin, in a conventional, quiet neighborhood. The boy lived in a prison-likehouse. The air was musty and nothing was taken care of. The gardens were growingwild, the books in his house were in a state of ruin, and a priest, the formertenant of the house, had died in one of the rooms. The atmosphere was dark,dismal, and depressing. The character lived in a run down district where streetgangs existed. It was the winter season and street lamps were weak which gaveadditional images of darkness. These examples suggested images of decay, death,and imprisonment. An opposing image existed in the form of the boysfriends older sister and the bazaar in Araby. This gave images of escape andhope as well as opposing images of Dublin and Araby, darkness opposing light.
Araby, written in the third person, had tones in, which were illusory andsubjective. The character is dealing with his feelings and with the relationshipthat exists there and is mostly imaginary. The setting and images of this storyoffered a mood that was bleak. The boys mood and the external surroundingswere in sympathy with each other. For example, at the end of the day when thestalls were closing down and there was not enough time, this provided anexternal mood that was in harmony with his inward mood. The setting of A SunriseOn The Veld took place in an open, grassy areas or as the title indicates, in anactual veld. The season is winter in this story, early morning, approximatelytwo hours before sunrise. The air smelled new and fresh, it was the beginning ofa new day. There were descriptions of nature, for example: the wall of trees;the grass was described as tall; and there was a river around him. The narratordescribed the beauty and variety of nature. The character had dogs running alongwith him, and so the atmosphere suggested life and energy. The story, written inthe first person, had a tone of objectiveness. The objects were real, in frontof him, and existed outside of his mind. There were several notable images. Inone image, the description of his home compared to the vastness of the veld; hishome was described as low and small under a brilliant sky. This projectedmans insignificance compared to the vastness of nature. At one point after heleaped in the air over rocks and shouted as he ran, he stopped for a moment andreflected that he could have broken his ankle at any moment. His enjoyment couldbe disturbed as suddenly as had happened for the buck. He learned that his joywas precarious and fragile and could betaken away at any given time. Hedescribed bitter odors after encountering the dying animal, and the atmospherebecame depressing. There was suffering, sickness, and anger. There was a senseof the shortness of time and the character realized that he too was mortal. Hegot a fore taste of his own death and the idea that he too will die one day.
There was a contrast between the beauty of the surroundings and the newness ofthe early morning and the death of the buck; it stood out in contrast. In theshort stories, through all components, confrontations, and experiences bothcharacters were brought out of themselves for a brief period and then foreversaw the world in a different and more realistic way. They became more aware ofthe collective nature of existence, and of how their own lives were affected byoutside influences, beyond their control.