A Journey into Self-Discovery in Araby by James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield’s, The Garden Party

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In “Araby”, author James Joyce presents a male adolescent who becomes infatuated with an idealized version of a schoolgirl, and explores the consequences which result from the disillusionment of his dreams. While living with his uncle and aunt, the main character acts a joyous presence in an otherwise depressing neighborhood. In Katherine Mansfield’s, The Garden Party, Mansfield’s depicts a young woman, Laura Sherridan, as she struggles through confusion, enlightenment, and the complication of class distinctions on her path to adulthood. Both James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield expertly use the literary elements of characterization to illustrate the journey of self-discovery while both main characters recognize that reality is not what they previously conceptualized it as.
Throughout “Araby”, the main character experiences a dynamic character shift as he recognizes that his idealized vision of his love, as well as the bazaar Araby, is not as grandiose as he once thought. The main character is infatuated with the sister of his friend Mangan; as “every morning [he] lay on the floor in the front parlour watching her door…when she came on the doorstep [his] heart leaped” (Joyce 108). Although the main character had never spoken to her before, “her name was like a summons to all [his] foolish blood” (Joyce 108). In a sense, the image of Mangan’s sister was the light to his fantasy. She seemed to serve as a person who would lift him up out of the darkness of the life that he lived. This infatuation knew no bounds as “her image accompanied [him] even in places the most hostile to romance…her name sprang to [his] lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which [he] did not understand” (Joyce 109). The first encounter the narrator ex...

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... not as they conceptualized. As adulthood is commonly linked with age, the shift from adolescence to maturity arises with experience. In Joyce’s “Araby”, the emotional journey for the narrator, begins with the infatuation with his best friend’s sister, and ends with his disillusionment for love. In Mansfield’s “The Garden-Party”, Laura acts as a tie between the brightness and wealth of the Sheridan’s contrasted with the darkness and sorrow of the Scotts. While struggling with inner confusion, she attempts to build a unique identity for herself. Her emotional journey culminates with the viewing of the deceased man, and her powerful realization of life, where her life is put into perspective of life on a universal level. Both main characters experience major changes in their personality, as well as their psychology, and these insights change both of them incredibly.

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