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James Joyce’s Short Story “Araby”

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    “In James Joyce’s short story “Araby,” the male narrator’s coming-of-age is transposed against a tale of an innocent woman’s supposed falling from grace, in the eyes of the young man. The young man promises to go to a fair called Araby. The name “Araby” was often thought to comprise the fictional or romanticized version of Arabia or Arab world, such as in the then-popular song “The Sheik of Araby. ” (“Araby, 2005) The young man promises to bring the young woman something from the far-off and exotic fair.

    However, when the young man goes to the fair and sees what goes on there between English men and women in the foreign and carnival context, his pure image of the woman is broken and destroyed. This fall from grace not only parallels the Original Sin narrative of Genesis, where the woman’s sin causes her husband to be cast from the garden, and the broken quest for the Holy Grail, where purity and the real world cannot co-exist. ” “A coming of age story deals with the growth and change of a young person into an adult.

    In some stories the growth of the character is conveyed in a coming of age flow of events, while in others a character experiences an epiphany that suddenly gives him or her great insight into the reality of life. Stories of maturation show the events that guide the young person into acceptance of adulthood. James Joyce’s “Araby” is a good example of the adolescent experience because it contains literary elements such as characterization, narrative point of view, language, and epiphany that create a contrast between adulthood and adolescence, and between the protagonist’s fantasies and the reality of the adult world. This paper looks at how James Joyce’s protagonist in “Araby” travels to the bazaar on a quest to obtain an exotic treasure for his lady love and how, like a mythic hero, he has overcome obstacles on his journey. At the end of his voyage, however, he finds no Holy Grail but only flowery knick-knacks. It examines the narrator’s journey of self-discovery, focusing on the author’s use of narration, diction, imagery, and language to establish a tone that conveys this discovery. From the Paper “Joyce chose a first person narrator in this story.

    This choice is essential because it allows the reader to establish an immediate empathy for the protagonist as well as to overlook the foolishness of the boy’s infatuation with his older neighbor. The narrator at first is a very innocent child: he reports matter-of-factly on the appearance of his street and the death of the priest who rented a room in his house. The speaker lists The Memoirs of Vidocq among the priest’s few possessions, even claiming to like this book the best, but fails to see the irony in this choice of literature by a holy man. ”

    This paper offers a discussion of the narrator’s journey of faith that ends in disillusion in James Joyce’s short story “Araby. ” The paper examines Joyce’s use of religious symbolism and focuses on the loss of faith by the narrator/protagonist. “In James Joyce’s “Araby” a young man is beginning to mature and with that maturity comes a growing sense of interest in the opposite sex. His interest in Mangan’s daughter becomes a mythical and magical experience for him. This experience makes him focus on Araby, the place where he believes his dreams will come true.

    The young man hopes to find a present worthy of his object of affection at Araby where a bazaar is being held. ” ———- “Araby”, a short story by James Joyce, set before the turn of the century in Dublin, is not the story of any outward action but the story of the inner whirl of the mind. It represents the excited representations of Joyce as a young boy, to relish and cherish beauty that was deemed as an ideal by him. In the first portion of the story, his ideal was Mangan’s sister whom he saw from a distance and felt fascinated by the very sight.

    The author portrays his eager watching or for a slight view of her with an idealistic yearning and romantic sensibility. Of course, he was too young to realize then what love was, but he became somehow or other a slave, to the massive power of love, and waited eagerly for a little touch or communication with her. Of course, he talked with her at long last, promised her to bring a gift from Araby and eagerly waited for the time to accomplish his promise. By the side of this yearning, there was also another longing, his deep longing to go to Araby, the fete, which was a place of romance and beauty to him.

    He obtained his uncle’s permission after fixing a date for going to Araby. This vision of Araby seemed to dazzle before him and tempt him. He waited for the day of his visit and considered all his day-to-day occupations as unnecessary interruptions towards his goal of life. Indeed, Mangan’s sister and Araby gleemed before the boy as the Holy Grail of the Grail legend which had prompted the chivalrous knights in the Middle Ages to undertake perilous journeys. His young and undeveloped mind was equally fascinated and like the medieval knights, he waited and waited for that which he could never possess nor relish.

    This story indeed records the longing, the lingering, the waiting for the unattainable ideal of love and the insatiable expectations for the grandeur and beauty which ever alluring and never yielding. The experience of the boy at Araby is thoroughly disappointing. He went to the grand bazaar with many expectations but they were all illusions. Nor could appease his relish for the Great Oriental Grandeur over there neither could he fulfill his promise of bringing a gift for Mangan’s sister.

    His dreams were shattered. He left the place the place with utter anguish and anger. The theme of the story is the unholy union of the lifeless and dirty reality of metropolitan life with the romantic yearning of a young heart for all the things that draws yet deceives. “Araby” has a symbolic undertone that reveals man’s frustration in his effort to attain his most cherished desires. The only universal fact of life is the anguish and frustration while searching for man’s most cherished desires.

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    James Joyce’s Short Story “Araby”. (2018, Feb 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/james-joyces-short-story-araby/

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