Light and Dark Symbolism Illustrated in Joyce's Araby

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Since symbolism first began to be used in the English language, Light has always represented a theme of hope and optimism. The phrase “Light at the end of the tunnel” best encompasses this, implying an opportunity or relief after difficulty or chaos. In the same way, Darkness has represented confusion or despair. James Joyce expands on the traditional connotations of Light and Darkness in his short story “Araby”. The narrative follows a young boy on his futile quest to find love with a girl much older than himself whom he hardly knows. Joyce uses Light to represent not only hope, but unrealistic idealism and illusion. In the same way, Darkness, in addition to despair, represents the reality and truth in the narrator's predicament. Joyce uses Light and Darkness as a symbol for the clash between fantasy and reality that takes place within the narrator.

Initially, the protagonist lives with his mind set in the real world. As the “ever-changing violet” sky turns to night, he plays in the dark streets with his friends, shouting in the empty street before retiring to the tracks behind t...

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