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James Joyce's Araby As A Coming Of Age Story

827 words - 3 pages

Jenna HeckerMoss, Analysis and Interpretation of LiteratureAnalysis of Araby9/28/04Araby, by James Joyce is a story about a young boy experiencing his first feelings of attraction to the opposite sex, and the way he deals with it. The story's young protagonist is unable to explain or justify his own actions because he has never dealt with these sort of feelings before, and feels as though someone or something totally out of the ordinary has taken him over. The boy can do nothing but act on his own impulses, and is blind to the reasoning behind him.Araby is such a powerful study on childhood because of the way Joyce so vividly recounts the frustration a child feels when they are unsuccessful at trying to be an adult too fast. The story begins with images of blindness, a symbol of the boy's youth and ignorance. Joyce describes the street the boy lives on, North Richmond street, as being "blind." It is from these blind shadows of the boys ignorance that the object of his affection, his friend Mangan's sister, emerges. Joyce describes her figure as being "defined by the light of the half-open door" (Joyce, 27) a symbol of the boy becoming enlightened by these new, adult feelings. As she enters the story, the images change from darkness to light and his feelings change from immature childhood concerns to those of an adolescent. Eventually, the boy's language becomes more poetic and adult, and his thoughts turn completely to her. "Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance," he admits "her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand."The boy idealizes Mangan's sister, obsessing over her, and is overcome with joy when she speaks to him. She tells him about a bazaar being held called Araby, and asks him if he is going. "I forgot whether I said yes or no" says the love-struck boy to the reader, he is overcome with a mixture of fear and excitement as she chats calmly with him, explaining she can't go because she will be away on a retreat when the bazaar is being held. She does not have to say anything else, the boy has found his opportunity to gain her affections, he tells her he will go to the bazaar on her behalf and buy her a present. He can hardly contain his excitement at this...

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