An Analysis of Araby in James Joyce's Dubliners Joyce Dubliners Araby
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An Analysis of Araby in James Joyce's Dubliners Joyce Dubliners Araby Essays
An Analysis of Araby
����� There are many statements in the story "Araby" that are both
surprising and puzzling.� The statement that perhaps gives us the most
insight into the narrator's thoughts and feelings is found at the end of
the story.� "Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven
and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger. (32)"� By
breaking this statement into small pieces and key words, we can see it as a
summation of the story's major themes.
����� At this point in the story, many emotions are swirling about in the
narrator's head.� His trip to the bazaar has been largely unsuccessful.� He
was late arriving, was unable to find a gift for Mangan's sister, felt
scorned by the merchants, and suddenly found himself in a dark room.� These
surroundings left him feeling both derided, and with a sense that this
eagerly anticipated trip had been in vain.
����� Many other situations caused him to feel driven and derided by
vanity.� His reflections of the "charitable" life of the priest who
occupied the narrator's house before the narrator make us wonder if the
priest led a life of vanity.� His early obsession with Mangan's sister now
seems in vain.� "I had never spoken to her ... and yet her name was like a
summons to my foolish blood. (4)"� He feels ashamed and ridiculed by his
earlier inability to communicate with Mangan's sister.� He sees how
distracted he was by his anticipation of the bazaar.� He recalls that he "
had hardly any patience with the serious work of life. (12)"� The narrator
is embarrassed by the time he had wasted, and the ease with which he became
distracted.� The near total worthlessness of the bazaar at the time the
narrator arrives is an extreme example of vanity.� Not only does the
narrator feel ridiculed by the vanity involved in this situation, he also
feels driven by it.� The simple conversation he carries on with Mangan's
sister regarding the bazaar drives him to direct all his thoughts toward
the glory that will be the bazaar.� A sort of irony can be found in the
fact that something that he devoted all his "waking and sleeping thoughts"
to could turn out so foolish and ridiculous.
����� The last sentence of the story contains four words that deal with
the sense of sight: gazing, darkness, saw, and eyes.� The story both begins
and ends with darkness.� The first sentence tells that the street the
narrator lived on was "blind."� The narrator spends a great deal of time
watching Mangan's sister.� He also is very careful to keep "the blind
pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen. (4)"
The narrator feels anguish and anger when he is unable to watch Mangan's
sister due to his uncle's presence in the hall.� Ironically, it is in the
darkness that the narrator comes to see his true feelings, which again
leads him to feel anger and anguish.� The narrator's perception of the
darkness causes him to reflect on his own isolation and loneliness.
����� Many other circumstances cause the narrator to feel anguish and
anger.� "Enduring the gossip of the tea-table (17)" causes him to clinch
his fists and feel bitter.� His uncle's late arrival home also added to the
narrator's feelings of suffering.
����� When the narrator comes to the realization that vanity drives and
derides him, feelings of anguish and anger overwhelm him.� The narrator's
experience over the weeks preceding the bazaar, coupled with the
surroundings he faces leaves him with a painful empty feeling many adults
find in life.
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Araby, Dubliners, Narration, James Joyce
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