James Joyce's Araby - Setting and Theme in Araby
Length: 422 words (1.2 double-spaced pages)
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The setting in "Araby" reinforces the theme and the characters by using
imagery of light and darkness. The experiences of the boy in James Joyce's
"Araby" illustrate how people often expect more than ordinary reality can
provide and then feel disillusioned and disappointed. The author uses dark and
obscure references to make the boy's reality of living in the gloomy town of
Araby more vivid. He uses dark and gloomy references to create the mood or
atmosphere, then changes to bright light references when discussing Mangan's
sister. The story expresses its theme through the setting, the characterization
of the boy and his point of view as the narrator.
Darkness is used throughout the story as the prevailing theme. James
Joyce's story begins at dusk and continues through the evening during the winter,
in Araby Ireland. He chooses this gloomy setting to be the home of a young boy
who is infatuated with his neighbors sister. The boy is young and naive and he
leads a dull and boring life. Joyce uses darkness to make the boy's reality
more believable through more vivid, precise descriptions.
Bright light is used to create a fairy tale world of dreams and
illusions. James Joyce uses the bright light when describing Mangan's sister,
the boy's infatuation. The protagonist is infatuated with his neighbor's sister
and he imagines that he will heroically bring her something back from the bazaar.
Joyce refers to bright light when discussing Mangan's sister in order to give
her a heavenly presence. Light is used to create a joyful atmosphere.
The ending of the story is filled with images of darkness and light.
James Joyce uses the lights of the bazaar to illustrate the boy's confrontation
with reality. The bazaar lights are almost all off because the bazaar is almost
closed. This is significant because the boy wants the bazaar to be bright and
open, but it is dark and closed. This is when the boy finally realizes that
life is not what he had dreamt it to be. He finds himself angry at life and
James Joyce uses the setting to symbolize a key concept of the story.
The dark disillusion the boy experiences is all part of growing up. The boy is
no longer young and naive, he has grown up and become disillusioned with life.
"Araby" shows how we all get ideas about how things will be and then feel
disappointed with ourselves when things don't work out as expected.