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James Joyce's Araby Essay

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The Tragedy of Araby



     
     In James Joyce’s Araby, a young boy finds himself in love with an older girl. The girl, Mangan’s sister, refuses to love him back and instead ignores him. This crushes the boy and makes his hunger for her even more stronger. He sometimes finds himself hopelessly alone in the darkness thinking about her, awaiting for the day she would recognize his devotion to her. “ At night in my bedroom…her image came between me and the page I strove to read (805).” “At last she spoke to me (805).” She asked him if he was going to attend a popular carnival called Araby. Unfortunately, she was unable to go, and it was up to him to bring her something back. This became his journey and adventure that he could not wait for. “I wished to annihilate the tedious intervening days (805).” When he finally arrived at Araby he found himself, once again alone in the darkness, due to the fact that it was closing time. Nearly all the stalls were closed down already, except one. When he approached to the open stall to buy a special present for his loved one, he was by the saleswomen’s mean and annoyed tone of voice, when she asked him if he would like to buy anything. “She seem to have spoken to me out of a sense of duty (807).” His only response was a disappointed “No thank you (807).” He was obviously heartbroken and shocked that he was unable to accomplish his task, and make the love of his life love him the same way he loves her. This young boy is introduced to disappointment of disillusionment through the themes of isolation, dark and light images, and hopelessness an decay.
The motif of isolation has a continuous pattern throughout the story. It has a physical significance, as well as an emotional significance. It seems to find a part in the life of everyone in the community. There are many situations in the story where the boy feels separated and detached from Mangan’s sister, his love. His feelings for her are so strong that he feels he needs to isolate himself in order to keep her out of reach. Even though they barley communicate, the mere image of her brings him much happiness. As the boy illustrates “I have never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name was like summons to all my foolish blood. ( )” Whenever he is gazing at her and watching her figure, he tends to al...


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...is on a downhill trend from the beginning, even his very tone expresses his desires and sadness. He is a little boy with a big crush in an even bigger world, where thing don’t always go as expected. The boy acknowledges this in his innocent heart and soul, at the carnival, when he is deprived of accomplishing his biggest and most important journey; bringing his love something very special from Araby. This task was extremely vital to him, and it was left uncompleted. The reason that the boy could not get to Araby on time was because his uncle arrived home late, because he had forgotten about him. That was a very cruel thing to do knowing how important this was for his nephew, he reminded his uncle many times. The uncles response was “ The people are in bed and after their fist sleep now( )”. The motif of decay is seen in some symbolism too. The apple tree in the wild garden is symbolic to the tree of knowledge. However, the tree in the story is wild, meaning that knowledge is limited in the neighborhood. For example, when the previous owner, the priest, of the boy’s house had died, he had given all his money to charity and left his sister with nothing but old and used furniture.



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