Araby essay introduction

The average reader might be inclined to skip over it, since it seems to violate the fundamental rule of the short story: ensure that the main character is doing something in the first sentence. In actuality, this paragraph holds the key to the entire story. The fact that this story does appear to violate protocol for short stories is fascinating because, as I pointed out above, the imagery of the first paragraph is the work of a master craftsman; it is difficult to believe that the paragraph could be truly flawed.


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This raises an intriguing question: is it possible that the street itself is in a sense the main character? Such a thought seems to fly in the face of the rest of the story; after all, we are introduced to the boy in the second paragraph, and it is his experiences that are related from then on.

In fact, however, it fits in well. The dead-end street is a very important symbol, depicting graphically the harsh life of the boy, and it forms the backdrop for all of "Araby.

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The next sentence says, "An uninhabited house of two stories stood at the blind end. This "uninhabited house" is the culmination of the dead-end street. In a powerful way--though this is not apparent until the conclusion--the author foreshadows the entire story in just two sentences. Lining the street are "other houses. The irony of this statement is quite profound, given the hopelessness of the boy's situation illustrated by the drabness of the houses. Clearly, the boy lives a meaningless life.

Consider the bitterly ironic statement "North Richmond Street. Outwardly the boy's lifestyle is proper, upstanding, and wholesome, but it is devoid of life. The school is a daily ordeal, a confining prison from which to be set free--after which the street becomes silent and dead again. The boy spends a great deal of time in the library of his house which, by the way, is not livened by the love of parents; he lives with his aunt and uncle.

This library is the room in which the priest, the former owner of the house, died; and for reasons not entirely clear, the boy regards it with a peculiar, morbid fascination. Perhaps the dead priest, who figures prominently in the first part of the story, is linked in the boy's mind with the imprisoning school he attends, and therefore for him the library typifies the sterility and closeness of his life. Yet the room is also his refuge from heartbreak: in one poignant moment he says, ". I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: O love! O love!

The boy escapes from the unbearable reality by dreaming and romanticizing.

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He sees ordinary things others might not find: he likes one of the books in the library "because its leaves were yellow" and finds "the late tenant's [priest's] bicycle pump" When "Mangan's sister" makes her appearance, he idealizes her beyond all recognition; she becomes an ethereal creature without name or identity, an angel with the key to his prison door. His head is full of grandiose images of chivalry: her name beckons to him like the trumpet call of a herald, even in the most incongruous situations: ". I bore my chalice safely through the throng of foes" in the filthy market streets of Dublin Once he associates the word Araby with her, he embarks with it on the most elaborate flights of imagination; it becomes a symbol of everything he is living for.

During the week preceding the day he plans to go to Araby, faint fissures form in the foundation of his fantasy.


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  • Formerly a model student, he loses all interest in school. His perceptions--and this is key to the story--begin to mature at an astonishing rate, until ". But it is on Saturday morning that the crevasse opens: "I left the house in a bad humor. In only a few days, something has changed radically in the boy's soul.

    By the time he finally arrives at Araby late Saturday night, the quest has lost all meaning for him. He walks into "a big hall girdled at half its height by a gallery.

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    Nearly all its stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall was in darkness" --powerfully recalling the image of that mysterious, uninhabited house of the first paragraph. The boy has reached the end of his street and come up desperately empty. Those imperturbable brown houses have betrayed him. He feels shattered. The journey James Joyce portrays in "Araby" is one we all embark on at one time or another.

    Though we have our own unique ways of attaining adulthood, eventually all of us taste from that forbidden tree, and the awareness that accompanies the loss of the idyllic view of childhood is often traumatic to the extreme. At the same time, this story provides a sober warning. The protagonist is involved in this world and its "Indian battles" [1] but only because it is the only play his peers seem to enjoy.

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    His part is the role of the "reluctant Indian" [2] because he would prefer to play being an American detective. The detective's world is a world out of order in which he has to use his subtle mind to fight against the evil. In this environment there is no open battle nor physical power.

    The theme of Coming of Age in Araby from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

    It is a subtile world where things happen secretly. In contrast to a detective story which takes place on a psychological level an adventure of the Wild West takes place on a physical level. The cowboy's world is a loud world full of fights. Even the name 'Wild West' gives a notion of how this world is ruled. It is superficial. One must not look beneath the surface because there is nothing to look for. The Dillon boys and Mahony prefer the Wild West.

    A sheriff is the embodiment of a 'real man' in a world where gender roles are clearly defined. It is therefore easy for the boys to identify themselves with masculinity. For the boy narrator it is not that easy to accept the masculinity of the Wild West. It is too simple for him which is why he prefers the detective. A detective is not defined as a 'real man'. It actually does not matter whether he is male or not.

    He is simply a person which happens to be male. All rights reserved. Toggle navigation. Sign Up.

    Araby

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    INTRODUCTION

    Plot Summary. Historical Context. Critical Overview. Critical Essay 1. Critical Essay 2.