Parallels between Araby and Genesis
In the Bible, the story of creation occurs in the garden of Eden. The book of Genesis tells the tale of Adam and Eve, whom God allowed to eat the fruit from any tree in the garden except for that of the central tree of knowledge. Unfortunately, with the serpent’s deceitful encouragement, Eve enticed Adam to eat from that banned tree. The fruit opened Adam’s eyes to the reality that he was naked (Gen. 3:7-20). Interestingly, the second paragraph of “Araby” alludes to the Genesis account of Eden. “The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple tree and a few straggling bushes.” Aside from commenting on the “eroded” isle of Ireland, Joyce uses this allusion to arrange the entire plot of the story: man trusts woman, woman tricks man, and man realizes his mistake. “Araby’s” Eve is the beloved girl who is kept nameless by Joyce, while Adam is the narrator, an adolescent boy who is infatuated with the Eve. Through an examination of the shift in emotions and thoughts of the narrator through a plot filled with trust and betrayal, the reader discovers that a person’s mind distorts reality by creating a fantasy environment. Without any control over reality and emotion, this illusionary world imprisons the thinker. In other words, one’s mind self-paralyzes.
According to the narrator, Eve’s character is an innocent and beautiful young woman. Since the story is written in first-person perspective, all commentary and descriptions in the story are those from the narrator’s perceptions. Although the only name mentioned by the narrator for her is “Mangan’s sister” (perhaps after the Irish poet), the girl is obviously the object of the narrator’s affection. The reader is introduced to her as a girl whose “dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side.” These physical descriptions establish a sense of admiration toward Mangan’s sister in the narrator. Later the narrator tells of how he follows her to school and how he thinks about her constantly, much like an adolescent in “love” would do. This feeling is not foreign to any reader; during the youth of our lives, we too have desired someone at a point beyond normality.
Adam, the narrator, is obviously infatuated with Mangan’s sister. Similar to what an adolescent would do, the narrator “trusts” his love and will do anything for her. Such is the case when discussing Araby, a bazaar. As she cannot attend due to a prior engagement, the narrator agrees to “get her something” if he goes. Thus, the narrator offers to do something beyond what he would normally do. Since the first mention of Araby is the narrator's conversation with Mangan’s sister, the bazaar apparently is neither a normal nor an extraordinarily popular event. Coupled with the aunt’s surprise at the narrator’s desire to visit the bazaar, a reader receives the feeling that the narrator would not have otherwise gone to Araby. ...