Araby by Joyce James essay

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Arabyby Joyce James

Inhis complex story, Araby, Joyce James significantly illustrates thethemes of escape,fantasy, and religion in the conflict between ideal and reality andthe oppressive cultural forces that revolves around it.

Thesisstatement:the paper will interpret the Araby story in the view of the themespresented in the story and how they reflect on the narrators’ lifeand how they reflect on our day to day experiences.

Arabyexplores the escape and fantasy statements

The“Araby” story is short and complex. It is a reflection of Joyce’spersonal life as Dublin boy. Escape and fantasy concerning darkness,enlightenment and despair are the central focus of the story. Thestory is a reflection of Joyce’s life. It is constant strugglesbetween reality and Ideal.

Itexplores statement of the redundancy, hopelessness and emptiness

JamesJoyce in this story outline the interesting statement on theredundancy and emptiness elements through the story of a boy caughtup in romantic nightmare, only to find his dreams frustrated byredundant actions of his surroundings. Joyce uses chiasmus, emptytones and repletion to establish the dark and frustrating lives ofthe characters. For instance, the seeks on how to escape the NorthRichmond Street black darkness. “The short days of winter,” “thenight’s starts early, “streets lights as feeble lanterns’”(Joyce 38), these are escape attempts orchestrated in the story.Metaphorically, the street is seen as blind and as a dead end,similar to the state of Dublin in the North Richmond Street where thenarrator grew during his teenage hood in the 1890s.

Tothe boy, Araby is like North Richmond Street, very empty and darkwith scarce population, (Joyce 39). The lady at the booth ignores theboy and is busy flirting with men. When the young lady finallyapproaches, he stares at her and freezes because of his crudeness.When the lady turns and walks away, the boy realizes the chance ofcapturing his friends sister heart through a gift had faded away. Atthe end, signs of anguish are clear on his eyes as the cold realitygrips downs on him as he walks away with some cash in his pockethaving bought nothing.

Thestory explores the oppressive cultures that dictate the lives ofcharacters

Thecurrent darkness in the story depicts the American culture ofhostility and the oppressive forces that people experience. In thestory the evidence is shown by the boy hiding in the shadows in thefear of his uncle. He also hides to coyly see mangan’s sister whomhe feels some affection towards. The story further explores thehopelessness of Dubliners through the story of the boy’s sacredquest to distance himself from the monotony and boring life inDublin. The story is about escape in the fantasy world. The narratorfeels infatuated with the sister to his friend and because thecultural limitation cannot allow him to speak to her direct, he hidesin shadows and peeps from a distance in an attempt to spy the girl“brown figure.” The girl is the light in the fantasy of the boy,someone who will deliver him from the darkness, (Joyce 38). In this,Mongan’s sister, the boy’s Holy Grail, depicts the land ofIreland and the boy’s quest to win the heart of the girl representshis challenging attempts to free himself from the societalconstraints and constraints of his own faith. The boy cannot escapethe “darkness” in the story because even if the east comes tohim, for instance, “Araby, “he is the cultural forces constrainhis efforts. The English men (British) in American culture symbolizethe lack of hope and dullness of American that has been under Britishdomination for centuries.

Thetype of relationships in the Araby story

Inhis attempts to see his lover, the boy thinks of the Bazaar as theonly opportunity of winning her over, as a way of lighting a candlein her eyes. Nevertheless, his adolescence is a hindrance to hisquest as he is shy, therefore he find himself out words to speak. Helater fantasizes about the girl and thinks on how he can use giftsfrom the bazaar to win the girl’s heart. One day, the girl speaksand asks him if he will go to a Dublin bazaar, Araby. The Mengan’ssister cannot attend the bazaar because she is supposed to attend aweekend religious retreat. After recovering from the conversationshock, the boy promises to bring her a gift from bazaar and heanguishes over a late home return of his uncle and his forgetfulcharacter. However, he is bold and grasps an empty train to reality.The narrators and his guardians (his aunt and uncle) do not haveclose relationship and they do not understand the significance of thenarrator getting Araby.

Theconflict between romance and religion

Thecharacters in the story have no control over their lives and do notmake choices in complete freedom, for instance, the boy struggles toget a gift but because of his uncle’s lateness and forgetfulness,he is unable. His fear and speechlessness makes him end up buyingnothing. The story alludes that the restricting oppression andirresistible existence of the Catholic faith in Ireland that causesthe loneliness and darkness in the story. For instance, the girlwould like to go the bazaar but she cannot because she is tied toattending religious retreat. There the conflict between romance andreligion is evident. The narrator combines his passion for religionwith his developing romantic sexual desires. For instance, in thebeginning the story starts with conflict between religion andromance, “the dead end.”


Genderoppression is very clear. For instance, the girl does not talk, sheuses her silence to suppress the identity and impose passivecharacter on the narrator. The female gender is seen as havingfragile character. They are also sexual object. The narrator tells ofthe lady who flirts with men at the booth. He is infatuated withromantic feeling concerning his friend’s sister. Male domination isseen as the narrator chooses to find his way out in winning the girlby all means. He believes as man he should do everything includinggiving gifts to win the heart of the girl.

Inconclusion therefore, the Araby is self reflection story thatnarrates the narrators’ boyhood experiences. It is crucial piece ofwork that touches in the issues that revolve in our modern societysuch as conflict between reality and ideal. It presents the socialsforces that dictate daily lives of people such as religion, fantasyand morals.


Joyce,James.&nbspDublinersand Chamber Music.Auckland, N.Z.: Floating Press, 2010. Internet resource.sss