James Joyce’s Dubliners: Araby and Eveline contrast
In his short stories collection, The Dubliners, James Joyce is giving us so many examples on people, characters and even lives. This collection was written at the beginning of the nineteenth century, but we could read it with the same sense that we read the modern ones. The feelings are similar even situations.
Two of Joyce’s short stories are “Araby” (Joyce 26) and “Eveline” (Joyce 34) the second and the third in his collection respectively. Both of the stories are in Dublin, just like other stories in this book. We feel as if Joyce is speaking about neighbors or peoples in the same street. We feel a connection between every character in each story.
In Eveline the main character is a girl, her age is nearly nineteen and the story is told in the third person (Joyce 35), while in Araby, our character is a boy, a teenager who is just discovering manhood and he is telling his own story. At the first story Araby, we feel that James Joyce is telling his own story, we don’t feel the tone of the boyish voice, and we just notice that a grown man is describing what he has been through. The narrator tone of Evelin is more appropriate to the situation.
In both stories, the catholic spirit is very obvious .In Eveline,there is a priest, a friend to her father that his picture is always there, his father says about him ” He is in Melbourne now” (35).Her brother was also working in church decorating(36).In Araby,The boy was living in a home that once belonged to a priest,” The former tenant of our house, a priest, had died in the back drawing room”(26),and at the beginning of the story he tells the reader about the Christian school in his neighborhood” The Christian Brothers’ School(26) and even at the end of this story, we may notice the description of a church scene in his visit to the bazaar,” I recognized a silence like that which pervades a church after a service”(31).
Both stories were written in a pale, dark and sad atmosphere .For Araby, we notice how the boy is describing the street, where he lives, as “Blind”(26) and “the dark muddy lanes behind the houses”(26) .He even says:
When the short days of winter came, dusk fell before we had well
eaten our dinners. When we met in the street the houses had grown
sombre. The space of sky above us was the colour of ever-changing
violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. (26)
In Eveline, the same mode is represented with the dusty,” brown” (34) houses and awful work she had (35).
The love story of Araby is the first love kind, with the over whelmed characters .The boy in Araby is trying to tell his beloved one about his feelings and how he couldn’t” I had never spoken to her”(27).He even tried not to let her see him,
“Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlour watching her door. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen.”(27)
He is trying to prove his love toward her by buying her a token from a famous bazaar “`If I go,’ I said, `I will bring you something.”(29).
Love in Eveline is a kind of mature love. She loved a man and was going to get married. Every thing was real no dreams in Eveline situation,
She was about to explore another life with Frank. Frank was very kind,
manly, open-hearted. She was to go away with him by the night-boat to
be his wife and to live with him in Buenos Aires (36).
Both stories ended with a failure or a disappointment. In Araby, The boy couldn’t get what he wanted and left the bazaar, his last words were,” Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger”(33).In Eveline, her commitment towards her father and her fear from the new strange life stopped her from being happy with the man she loves, and couldn’t leave and have better life. The description of her standing, while “Frank” is leaving was the most impressive part of the story,
He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. He was
Shouted at to go on, but he still called to her. She set her white face to
Him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love
or farewell or recognition ((39.
James Joyce in the two stories is giving us a clue that his characters could have been happy, just if they had the courage to defeat their fear and do what they really wanted without any Reluctant.
Joyce, James. Dubliners. USA: Orange Street Press, 1999.