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“Araby” by James Joyce: Short Story Analysis

James Joyce’s story “Araby” is about an Irish adolescent lad transitioning from adolescent fancies to the harsh realities of everyday life in his birthplace. In a minimalist manner, the author employs a single narrator, a dismal backdrop, and symbolism to remind the reader of the hardships and disappointments we all encounter. To reveal the ironies embedded in self-deception, the author focuses on his characters rather than the plot.

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The boy’s personality is revealed obliquely in the short story’s opening scene. Symbolic pictures depict him as a guy who recognizes that the vibrancy of his city has dissipated, leaving only empty piety and just extended reminiscences of vibrant care for people and God. Despite his inability to comprehend this rationally, the small child believes that the street, the city, and Ireland have all become uninteresting and self-satisfied.

He lacks the comprehension required for appraisal and perception since he is alone, imaginative, and withdrawn. He is originally as blind as the world he lives in. Still, the author foreshadows his final understanding by combining his blindness with an unspoken reply against the world’s spiritual stagnation. However, as the boy grows, he discovers his vocabulary in his spiritual instruction and the passionate stories he has read.

The result is a naive view of love based on quasi-spiritual terminology and romantic descriptions. This combination creates an “epiphany” for the small boy as he guides his aunt through the bazaar, allowing the reader to feel the thoughts of the young mind with unexpected illumination. The reader can sense his quest’s futility and stubbornness as he interprets the world based on the visuals he sees in his dreams.

The young man is unusually enamoured, his awakening and disillusionment are foreshadowed in the first half of the story. As the author takes us through the boy’s childhood and adolescence, we see how much he has changed. His youth is filled with enormous visions and fantasies, and as an adult, he recalls and realizes all of the disappointments.

The boy’s vain pursuit is told through his lonely romanticism and ability to acquire the perspectives he currently has. When he arrives at the market, the boy discovers that he has invested all of his hope and affection in a world that exists only in his childish imagination. Recalling this unexpected encounter from his adolescence, the man remembers the moment he realized that living his ambition was no longer a possibility.

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StudyCorgi. "“Araby” by James Joyce: Short Story Analysis." January 5, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/araby-by-james-joyce-short-story-analysis/.

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StudyCorgi. 2023. "“Araby” by James Joyce: Short Story Analysis." January 5, 2023. https://studycorgi.com/araby-by-james-joyce-short-story-analysis/.

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StudyCorgi. (2023) '“Araby” by James Joyce: Short Story Analysis'. 5 January.

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