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Araby, by James Joyce Essay

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In the short story “Araby” by James Joyce, a young adolescent boy becomes infatuated with his friends sister. An extravagant bazaar comes to town and the adolescent begins to look at the bazaar through a telescope reflecting the idea of romance. Joyce manages to tell a story of filled with innocence and self discovery through intricate detail, imagery, tone, and setting depicting emotional occurrences within the youth from beginning to end. “Araby” is the story of young love not flourishing as the heart would wish it too rather it is naïve and impossible. It is an overpowering experience that awakens the speaker out of his haze. The story in all actuality is more than that though; it is the story of a bittersweet memory painted vividly through specific decorum chosen to illuminate the experience of first love, step by step.

By writing the story in first person point of view, James Joyce lets the reader in on the speakers’ innermost thoughts through a limited omniscient point of view. This is pivotal to the story and the readers understanding of the story because the tone and mood of the speaker comes off clearer and becomes more relatable. As the young boy experiences his first major crush, his complete oblivion to what is going to be realized later on comes off as endearing and innocent to readers. Though the speaker is very innocent and can not see beyond his dreams and into reality of the situation, being that his feelings are quite common and insignificant, what he feels is real.

The boy tends to magnify every little detail intricately and though he may have unrealistic wishes and desires he still gains great satisfaction out of them. Joyce writes of the seemingly unimportant details within the story that trul...


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...t the quest can not truly be fulfilled. This leads to disappointment for the speaker. All of his hopes are knocked down when he realizes that his adolescent youth holds no power. The bazaar and the girl are simply unreachable. He is simply a young boy with nothing to offer her. James Joyce depicts his emotional state here as being “vain” and “anguish stricken.”

By the end of the story he feels letdown unsure why he is being faced with this reality, until it hits him that he has been unrealistic about his feelings for his friend’s sister, the reality is she is just another young girl, much like the girl that waited on him at the bazaar booth. As he realizes that his crush is no holy symbol but rather common he wonders why would his crush want to be with him, or for that matter, have anything to do with him? The speaker is brought to his moment, his epiphany.



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