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James Joyce's Araby Analysis

1585 words - 6 pages

Short Fiction Unit: Literary EssayBlindness is defined as being "unwilling or unable to perceive or understand" (Blind,Dictionary.com). "Araby" by James Joyce discusses the presence of blindness directly. "Araby" presents an image of North Richmond Street "being blind", which foreshadows Joyce's sightlessness further on through his experiences (287). At the end of North Richmond Street there is an uninhabited house that isolates and detaches itself from the "other houses on the street, conscious of decent lives within them" (287). It identifies and couples the focus of blindness with light and darkness to enhance the overall recurrence of Joyce's lack of sight. James Joyce's theme of blindness is the most prominent throughout the entire storyline of "Araby". The reoccurring theme of blindness in "Araby" is reinforced by the boy's blindness to the former priest that used to live in his house, the beauty of his friend's sister, what he thinks is his first love, and the idea of Araby.The house of the deceased priest that was the former tenant of the boy's house, used to live in the back drawing room which is where the boy finds three stories that the priest had read. In the "musty" and "enclosed" room, there lay the stories of The Abbot by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant and The Memoirs of Vidocq, it seems as though the common element in each of the stories that the priest read involved deceit (287). The Memoirs of Vidocq, is about a corrupt police officer who was a thief and used his job to hide his crimes. As deceit would come to mind for many people, the boy's blindness keeps him from seeing that the stories may have been uncovering hidden desires or possible actions of the priest. The room is "littered with old useless papers" and he "like[s] the last best because its leaves were yellow" (287). The boy's lack of intuition and naivety shows how he is unobservant to things that should stand out. Not only did the priest leave behind an interesting choice in stories, but he also left behind a lot of money. The boy says "he had been a very charitable priest" yet there is no connection between being charitable and having lots of money left in his bank account (287). This connection between the blindness of the boy and how his name is unmentioned foreshadows the theme and creates dramatic irony for the rest of the story.At a young age, children begin to crave love. Although the true meaning and feeling of love is not understood until later on in life, the curiosity and excitement always remains. The boy's infatuation with his friend's sister begins the approach of being blinded by love, and seems rather cliché. As the young boys play outside in "dark muddy lanes" and "dark dripping gardens" they commonly hide in the shadows of the night (287). The boys hide in the darkness but always show themselves in the presence of Mangan's sister. In the presence of her, the diction changes and the boy's infatuation with her intensifies, being as he is...

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