Analysis Of Extract From The Opening Of The Short Story "Araby" By James Joyce

1610 words - 6 pages

This extract is from the opening of the short story Araby, which is part of a collection of short stories written by James Joyce, known as "Dubliners". Irish experiences had a huge impact on James Joyce’s writing. The settings and the subjects of his stories are all based in Ireland. This short collection establishes a vision of life in Dublin which serves to show the condition of the Irish nation as a whole. In this story indeed Joyce portrays an image of Dublin and its people through themes which are repeated in his other works, and a variety of literary techniques. The story of Araby is concerned with a young boy and his desire for the one holy and good thing he sees in his world, a girl. The young boy also the narrator, strives for his dreams in the girl because of his dull, dark and unspiritual surroundings. His world provides no comfort or light for him, therefore he chases the only light he sees is the world, a girl.

Although this story is told in a first-person viewpoint from the young boy, throughout the story we do not receive the impression that a young boy is telling the story. It seems more likely a mature man contemplates about his youthful hopes, desires and frustrations. This viewpoint clearly allows us to see the torment of the boy, and his desire for the girl. One specific we see the boys torment is through the matured narrator’s description of the setting.

Setting/ Religion Discouraging SurroundingsThe life that the young boy leads and hardships he has to deal with living in Dublin is depicted by Joyce through the boy’s surroundings, the setting of the novel. Joyce uses imagery and literary techniques to describe North Richmond Street, portraying the street’s dark hopeless conformity. The reader gains a first sense of the boys’ world in the opening lines of this passage. The very first personified description of North Richmond Street is very important, ‘blind’. At first it may appear that the street is a dead end, however as the extract continues it is obvious the word ‘blind’ has a double meaning. As this extract continues negative diction (examples) is used to describe the setting, which has an atmosphere infused with gloomy isolation. These descriptions of the street are aided by literary techniques such as personification and alliteration. An understanding of the word blind is comprehended, through this negative diction. The gloomy description of the street is used to show anyone who is not blind, would feel oppressed and endangered by this street. However the people who live there are not threatened, as is seen by the houses which ‘gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces’. The people in the street are blind to the desolation around them, they...

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