Araby Short Story

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The three short stories entitled “Araby”, “Eveline”, and “Clay” are all stories from James Joyce’s Dubliners collection. These stories depict the middle-class lifestyle of the early 20th century in Dublin. All three of these stories deal with many of the same themes, and the main characters in each have a great deal in common. In the first story, “Araby”, a young boy describes his love for his friend Mangan’s sister. Although he has never spoken to her, he imagines himself in a myriad of different heroic situations, all of which describe a big, romantic gesture to win her affection. This shows his great desire for something more in life. The boy promises Mangan’s sister that when he ventures to Araby, he will return with a gift for her. This first interaction between the two is a huge step for the boy, and he is eager to get to Araby. Throughout the story, the boy appears frustrated with the mundane routine of his life, which is a recurring theme in all three of the stories. He also appears to be frustrated with his age, longing to see himself as an adult. I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play. (Joyce, 2217) At the end of the story, when the boy finally makes it to Araby, he does not wind up getting Mangan’s sister a gift after all. Although he never makes it implicitly clear as to why he gave up on his feat, we get a sense that the boy finally realizes how unrealistic his expectations had been. In the story, “Eveline”, a young girl (although older than the prepubescent boy in the first story) is sitting at a windowsill, reflecting on her past, and imagining her near future. The narrator describes E... ... middle of paper ... ...peats the first verse twice, which is significant to her character. I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls With vassals and serfs at my side And of all who assembled within those walls That I was the hope and the pride. I had riches too great to count, could boast Of a high ancestral name, But I also dreamt, which pleased me most, That you loved me still the same. (Joyce, 2229) These lyrics could suggest the longing Maria has to be loved. The fact that she repeats them, could be a Freudian slip hinting at her inner desires. Once again, we see a character who is set in her ways, and eager to break free. All three of these stories deal with characters who are tragically doomed to the routine of their lives. James Joyce uses different themes and motifs to connect these characters to one another, and all three have epiphanies, which are more forlorn than anything else.
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