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James Joyce's Araby Essay

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James Joyce's "Araby"


     Passion, adolescence, foolishness, and maturity are the first words that come to one’s mind to describe James Joyce’s short story, “Araby.” In it, he writes about a boy who falls deeply in love with his best friend’s sister, who through the story, doesn’t seem to notice him or care about him. The boy, who has yet to be named, lives in a poor and run-down town. During the story, certain characters contribute to the boy’s developing sense of maturity, and eventually, lead him into adulthood. Mangan’s sister, the boy’s uncle, the priest, and the girl at the bazaar all serve the purpose of molding the boy into a mature person.

     Undoubtedly the main person who unknowingly helps the boy along the path of maturity is Mangan’s sister. She is the boy’s crush. Whenever he sees her, he follows her wherever she goes. This is strange because the boy admits to hardly ever speaking to her, and he does not know her name. He even pulls up the blinds so that he can watch her. These points show the boy’s immaturity, but such can be expected from a boy his age. He thinks about Mangan’s sister and visualizes her image everywhere he goes. He idolizes her as an angel. She seems to become a symbol of what he is living for, and she gives meaning to his life. He shows that he is truly in love with her when he starts to talk with her and forgets what he says, which is because he is so caught up in the moment talking with her to think about what he is trying to say. The phrase “She asked me was I going to Araby. I forgot whether I answered yes or no.”, best exemplifies these ideas. His immaturity shows in these scenes, but in the end, he finally realizes how immature he really has been by following this girl around. By saying that, we find out that the boy does not just realize his immaturity right away, it takes him a while to mature enough to figure this fact out on his own, and therefore, Mangan’s sister plays a major role in the development of the boy. Aside from the girl, there were also other people with a major impact on the boy’s maturing process.

     Another one of the characters who aided the boy in the development of his maturity, was his uncle. The boy’s uncle is a symbol of the boy’s father figure. The boy’s uncle always seems to be stressed with the difficulties of his life. He shows that he is stressed by the way that he comes h...


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...t seem like he is used to being turned away like the results from this encounter. The girl from the fair could quite possibly be the main maturing factor for the boy. He learns that not everyone in his life will have the caring personality and congenial attitude like that of his aunt. The girl is perceived to have left the biggest and longest-lasting impression on the boy, as is evident in the last few lines of the short story where the boy says, “…I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity.”
With the help Mangan’s sister, the boy’s uncle, the priest, and the girl at the bazaar, the boy learns how to be a mature adult. The lessons that those characters have taught the boy will forever change him, as well as the reader, because of the many scenes of maturity, love and rejection. Joyce has captivated a diverse audience of readers that ranges from young, free-spirited kids to old, atrophying adults because of his astounding ability to relate the story to them. This story of the process of maturity will, in no doubt, teach the boy to never again chase after beauty alone, because if he does, he will once again wind up empty and detached with no meaning left in his life.


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