The short story, "Araby", by James Joyce is based on a character rather than on a plot to reveal the ironies into fooling yourself. "Araby" is a story of a boy’s journey into manhood. The journey ends in failure and the trip is not completed but he is well on his way to adulthood. The story also consists of a grown man’s experiences. The story is told by looking back at his life with great importance. The boy’s experience is not limited to his first encounter with first love. It deals with a continuing problem for everyone throughout life, to have a dream be it romantically or in other avenues of life, and the reality is that you can never achieve it! This takes the story in two directions with the boy’s first experiences and the man who has not forgotten them. This leads to dramatic story telling by the narrator. The narrator tells the story as an adult using irony and symbols to provide the reader with the direction taken by Author.
The boy’s character is defined during the opening scene of the story. He has grown up in the old part of a dying city. Symbolic images show him to be an individual who is perceptive to the fact that his city’s far from its heyday, that there is no life left in the old girl, the only thing the boy sees is row and rows of house in his same predicament. In the little boy is a belief in the church and that God is alive shown by the importance of previous owner, a priest. The author portrays the little boy as not being able to understand the reasons but knows that the town and Ireland is dead or dying, also that the town is boring. The boy’s point of view is closed from anything farther than Araby.
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The boy’s way of thinking is also made clear in the opening scenes. Religion controls the lives of the residents of North Richmond Street, but it is a dying religion and receives only lip service. The boy, however, entering the new experience of first love, finds his expressions within the experiences of his religious training and the trashy romantic novels he has read. The result is a mixed up understanding of love based on religious traditions and the images of romance. This misunderstanding, which creates a different world for the boy as he accompanies his aunt through the market place, which lets us experience what the boy was thinking. We see and feel the sure futility and tenacity of his quest. However, despite feelings that the town is dead the boy determines to bear his “chalice safely through a throng of foes.” (863) His view of the city is romantic even through the reality is something different. The boy is lovesick, and from his innocent ideas, we realize that his bubble has just been burst. The boy must see the city for what it is a dark and dreary place. The first half of the story is about the boy’s awakening and the rest is about man realization of the disappointment.
The account of the boy’s futile quest emphasizes both how lonely and young he was, also how his beliefs have changed with age. His journey ends when he arrives at the bazaar and realizes that Araby is not at all what he envisioned. Araby is dirty and nasty and is ruled by money. It is not the place to purchase a cherished present for his first love. The boy realizes that he has placed all his love and hope for love in a place that does not exist except in his mind. He feels angry and betrayed by his own imagination. He feels he "is a creature driven and derided by vanity" (865) and the vanity is his own.
The man, remembering this story is a man hurt by his own imagination, which has happened to him way to many times since his visit to Araby. His realization that what happened to him many years ago is still true to today. As a child, you dream and in your imagination, you depicted a perfect situation however when the event or situation occurs it is very different for your premonition. The man realized that the same is true when you are an adult. In addition, he is sad.
Joyce’s ending to the “Araby” is excellent. He lets us feel how the boy is exposed to the knowledge that dreams are not always true to life and how the man realized that a world full of innocence and beauty he imagined just could not exist within the real world.
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