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Araby Essay, Research Paper


The short story Araby , by James Joyce, expresses the meaning of the word blind for an understanding of the story. The blindness, which refers to a dead-end street, revolves around a young boy from North Richmond. Loneliness surrounds this individual in every aspect of his life. The most devastating part about the life of this child is that he does not get himself out of this state of loneliness throughout the story.

The story begins with the narrator describing the setting of the story. Immediately the setting of the story puts the boy on a dead-end street, where he is literally trapped and ignored by the other houses on the block. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground. The other houses on the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces. In addition, the fact that the former tenant died in one of the rooms of the house does not even help him overcome this loneliness because the sense of death (like the blindness of the street) is present in the house. The wild garden in the back of the house has an apple tree, which I believe represents the boy. The apple tree is located in the middle of the garden, lonely, with a few straggling bushes next to it.

The story does not even give the child a name. This probably shows the importance of the boy in relation to others in the story. For example, when he is waiting for his uncle to come home, his uncle forgets all about him. He totally

forgets the fact that the boy wants to go to Araby. Also, he is referred to as boy or you many times in the story. Not giving him a name takes away his sense of identity, eventually alienating him from himself.

Mangan s sister is probably the biggest problem that he has in the story. The problem is that he does not have her to himself (intimately). His obsession with her puts himself in the position where she is the only cure to his loneliness. When she came out on the doorstep my heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. 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. He makes his trip to Araby a mission of his own; which is to go and buy a gift for her. He feels that he must get this gift because it will show her how he feels, this feeling of confused admiration. The boy does not want to end up like the home he lives in, which is blinded from all the others.

The story also tries to alienate him from the rest of society every chance it can get. For example, his trip to Araby is also lonely. I took my seat in the third class carriage of a deserted train. When the crowd of people were about to enter the train, maybe giving the child a sign of relief, the porter denied them their entrance. Another example how the story tries to

alienate him is during the moments of his waiting for his uncle to come home. I began to walk up and down the room, clenching my fists. These moments are very intense for him because he is already late, and is realizing the fact that he may not get the gift he eagerly craved.

Therefore, it seems as if something is intensely desired, there is a good chance things might not go your way. In other words, the boy s mission to go to Araby for the gift is likely going to finished like the blinded street he lived on. On the other hand, my interpretation of the story is if one fails in achieving a goal, he must continue until the goal is met. Unlike the dead end street, he wants a change in his life. The change is to mentally get out of this blind atmosphere which surrounds him and move on to a happier environment; and the girl can help get him there. The boy goes through a lot mild emotional trauma. He eventually has one personal goal in the story, and he is reaching it by himself. The story does not mention any close friends he may have, which requires him to fight harder. He also experiences many setbacks, yet he still strives to get the affection of the person he truly admires. He never achieves his goal in the story, but it never says he gives up on it. He just has to climb another hurdle, which will always be unknown to us.

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