The Motivation for Anguish Essay

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First romantic encounters by young boys are often wrought with many different emotions and illusions. In “Araby”, a portrayal of a young boy’s experience of romantic reality, the reader is witness to the narrator’s physical, emotional and chronological journey. The emotional reactions, anguish and anger, show the importance of the events in the young boy’s life. The deprecating word vanity is significant to the story’s theme, because while anguish and anger are emotional reactions, the admission of vanity is a severe moral judgment of oneself. Anguish is regarded as the key emotion in the young boy’s childhood. In James Joyce’s “Araby”, the exaggerated anguish of the narrator seems quite pretentious given the reality of his youthful perception.
Throughout the story, James Joyce demonstrates an unyielding motivation to illustrate the narrator’s disenchantment with most aspects of his life. As the narrator ages, he only becomes more embittered. Anguish is an emotion used to give a clear sense of the events significance. Joyce places this emotion at the end of the story with care. Joyce combines placement with strong details to describe the boy’s emotions. “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger” (Joyce, 1028). Many readers are struck with the notion that there is inadequate motivation for such intense anguish (Brugaletta 12). The ensuing quest of Joyce’s explanation that he experiences is between the young boy’s promise and his frustration. Such motivation must appear weak in contrast with the reaction they supposedly cause, the boy’s youth and romanticism notwithstanding (Brugaletta 12). The young boy has sensuously and emotion...

... middle of paper ... Joyce’s childhood. The young boy may have felt anguish, but the adult that looks back at himself sees someone who desires romance and happiness. Joyce explains “Araby” as the life of a young boy who has dreams and high expectations of the world, but instead the young boy gets a bitter taste of reality.

Brugaletta, John J., and Mary H. Hayden. “The Motivation For Anguish In Joyce’s ‘Araby’.”
Studies In Short Fiction 15.1 (1978): 11. Literary Reference Center. Web. 19. March
Coulthard, A.R. “Joyce’s Araby.” Explicator 52.2 (1994): 97. Literary Reference Center. Web. 20 March 2013.
Fim, Stewart. “James Joyce.” British Writers. Vol. 7. British Council, 1984. 41-58. Scribner Writers Series. Web. 19 March 2013.
Skau, Michael, and Donald L. Cassidy. “Joyce’s ARABY.” Explicator 35.2 (1976): 5. Literary Reference Center. Web. 19. March 2013.

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