Loss of Innocence in Araby by James Joyce

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The short story “Araby” by James Joyce is told by what seems to be the first person point of view of a boy who lives just north of Dublin. As events unfold the boy struggles with dreams versus reality. From the descriptions of his street and neighbors who live close by, the reader gets an image of what the boy’s life is like. His love interest also plays an important role in his quest from boyhood to manhood. The final trip to the bazaar is what pushes him over the edge into a foreshadowed realization. The reader gets the impression that the narrator is the boy looking back on his epiphany as a matured man. The narrator of “Araby” looses his innocence because of the place he lives, his love interest, and his trip to the bazaar.
In the opening scenes of the story the reader gets the impression that the boy lives in the backwash of his city. His symbolic descriptions offer more detail as to what he thinks about his street. The boy says “North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street [it’s houses inhabited with] decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces” (Joyce 984). This shows that the boy feels that the street and town have become conceited and unoriginal. While to young to comprehend this at the time the matured narrator states that he now realizes this. The boy is also isolated in the story because he mentions that when the neighborhood kids go and play he finds it to be a waste of time. He feels that there are other things he could be doing that playing with the other boys. This is where the narrator starts to become aware of the fact that not everything is what is seems. He notices the minute details but cannot quite put them together yet. As the story progresses one will see that th...

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...hen you reach the end the boy has taken a turn and instantly matures in the last sentence. Something like that doesn’t just happen in a matter of seconds. Therefore the readers gets the sense that the narrator is the boy all grown up. He is recollecting his epiphany within the story allowing the readers to realize themselves that the aspiration to live and dream continues throughout the rest of ones life. The narrator remembers this story as a transformation from innocence to knowledge. Imagination and reality clearly become two different things to the narrator; an awareness that everyone goes though at some point in their life. It may not be as dramatic as this story but it gradually happens and the innocence is no longer present.

Works Cited

Joyce, James. "Araby." 1914. Literature and Ourselves. Henderson, Gloria, ed. Boston, Longman Press. 2009. 984-988.

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