Epiphany in Araby of James Joyce's Dubliners

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Araby: An Epiphany

The story, "Araby" in James Joyce's Dubliners presents a flat, rather spatial portrait. The visual and symbolic details embedded in the story, are highly concentrated, and the story culminates in an epiphany. An epiphany is a moment when the essence of a character is revealed , when all the forces that bear on his life converge, and the reader can, in that instant, understand him. "Araby" is centered on an epiphany, and is concerned with a failure or deception, which results in realization and disillusionment. The meaning is revealed in a young boy's psychic journey from love to despair and disappointment, and the theme is found in the boy's discovery of the discrepancy between the real and the ideal in life.

The story opens with a description of North Richmond Street, a "blind," "cold ... .. silent" street where the houses "gazed at one an-other with brown imperturbable faces." It is a street of fixed, decaying conformity and false piety. The boy's house contains the samesense of a dead present and a lost past. The former tenant, a priest,died in the ba...

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...stern enchantment." His love, like his quest for a gift to draw the girl to him in an unfriendly world, ends with his realizing that his love existed only in his mind. Thus the theme of the story-the discrepancy between the real and the ideal-is made final in the bazaar, a place of tawdry make-believe. The epiphany in which the boy lives a dream in spite of the ugly and the worldly is brought to its inevitable conclusion: the single sensation of life disintegrates. The boy senses the falsity of his dreams and his eyes burn "with anguish and anger."
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