In James Joyce’s short story "Araby," the main character is a young boy who confuses obsession with love. This boy thinks he is in love with a young girl, but all of his thoughts, ideas, and actions show that he is merely obsessed. Throughout this short story, there are many examples that show the boy’s obsession for the girl. There is also evidence that shows the boy does not really understand love or all of the feelings that go along with it.
When the boy first describes the girl, you can see his obsession for her. He seems to notice every detail such as "her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side" (Joyce 548). You do not usually remember every minute detail of someone unless you are very intrigued by them. Also, note the way he describes her hair as "soft rope." This shows the intricate way the boy views her.
Another way you can see the young boy’s obsession for the girl is through his actions. Every morning, he waits for the girl to appear, and then he follows her. The way in which the boy waits for the girl definitely shows that he is obsessed with her. The young boy lies "on the floor in the front parlour watching her. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that [he] could not be seen" (Joyce 548). This sounds like spying, and spying on someone usually indicates that you have a fixation with that person. In this case, the young boy does demonstrate this fixation.
For instance, while the young boy is following her, this is the way he describes his adventure: "I kept her brown figure always in my eye, and when we came near the point at which our ways diverged, I quickened my pace and passed her. This happened morning ...
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...ights go out, and he is in the dark. As he stands there in the darkness, he sees himself "as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and [his] eyes burn with anguish and anger" (Joyce 551). I think this is when the young boy realizes that his whole trip to Araby was foolish because a gift from the bazaar is not going to make the young girl love him. The young boy finally realizes that everything he has done has been driven by some foolish notion that he thinks is love, but now he knows it is just a pathetic obsession for the young girl. The young boy’s eyes are burning because he feels so foolish about everything he has done supposedly for love, when he finally realizes all of his thoughts, actions, and ideas were just an obsession.
Joyce, James. "Araby." The Harper Anthology of Fiction. Ed Sylvan Barnet. New York: HarperCollins, 1986.
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