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Critical Analysis Of Joyce's Araby

1046 words - 5 pages

Analysis of “Araby”
In many cultures, childhood is considered a carefree time, with none of the worries and constraints of the “real world.” In “Araby,” Joyce presents a story in which the central themes are frustration, the longing for adventure and escape, and the awakening and confusing passion experienced by a boy on the brink of adulthood. The author uses a single narrator, a somber setting, and symbolism, in a minimalist style, to remind the reader of the struggles and disappointments we all face, even during a time that is supposed to be carefree.
The setting of the story plays a very important role. The story takes place in the winter, traditionally ...view middle of the document...

It is Mangan’s sister that provides “Araby” with its primary source of conflict. It is evident that she has awoken something in our narrator that is foreign, exotic, and frustrating simultaneously. He describes his fascination with her, and the painful confusion that accompanies his feelings for her: “Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand” (Gardner 102). Our narrator describes his morning ritual of observing her through a nearly closed blind, thus belying his fascination for her, yet there is innocence in the ritual that is clearly non-sexual, or perhaps pre-sexual. It becomes clear, although the ages of the characters are not given, that our narrator is entering the pre-adolescent stage of his life. He has feelings for Mangan’s sister that he does not quite understand, yet they overwhelm him.
The plot is further developed with the introduction of our second conflict, the bazaar referred to as “Araby.” Mangan’s sister describes the bazaar to our narrator, and when he learns that she can not attend, he sees an opportunity to show his affection for her by attending the bazaar in her place, and bringing her a gift to impress her. The gift itself symbolizes what he truly longs to give her, his heart and his affection. The very name of the bazaar brings exotic images to his mind: “The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me” (Gardner 103). He equates the imagined exotic images of the bazaar with the romantic images that she inspires in him.
Frustration once again is introduced as the narrator describes the struggle to get through his mundane daily routine, as he dreams of attending the bazaar: “I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to be child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play” (Gardner 103). Clearly, our narrator is entering a new stage in his life,...

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