Loss Of Innocence In Araby By James Joyce

1133 words - 5 pages

The short story “Araby” by James Joyce is told by what seems to be the first person point of view of a boy who lives just north of Dublin. As events unfold the boy struggles with dreams versus reality. From the descriptions of his street and neighbors who live close by, the reader gets an image of what the boy’s life is like. His love interest also plays an important role in his quest from boyhood to manhood. The final trip to the bazaar is what pushes him over the edge into a foreshadowed realization. The reader gets the impression that the narrator is the boy looking back on his epiphany as a matured man. The narrator of “Araby” looses his innocence because of the place he lives, his love interest, and his trip to the bazaar.
In the opening scenes of the story the reader gets the impression that the boy lives in the backwash of his city. His symbolic descriptions offer more detail as to what he thinks about his street. The boy says “North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street [it’s houses inhabited with] decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces” (Joyce 984). This shows that the boy feels that the street and town have become conceited and unoriginal. While to young to comprehend this at the time the matured narrator states that he now realizes this. The boy is also isolated in the story because he mentions that when the neighborhood kids go and play he finds it to be a waste of time. He feels that there are other things he could be doing that playing with the other boys. This is where the narrator starts to become aware of the fact that not everything is what is seems. He notices the minute details but cannot quite put them together yet. As the story progresses one will see that the boy seems to be just as blind as his city because he is still to innocent to see what is in front of him.
Further on in the story the narrator begins to describe his feelings for a girl across the street. He is drawn to her even though they have never said a word to one another. When the boy thinks of her “Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance. [I had] moments in strange prayers and praises, which I myself did not understand. […] If I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration” (985). This quote illustrates the love that the boy has for the girl next door. He thinks about her, fantasizes about her, and imagines her talking to him and feeling the same about him. However, the quote takes a turn and the boy admits that he is confused by the way that he feels about her. The boy is frustrated with his interpretation of love and his imaginary idea of romance. The relationship between the girl next door and the boy escalates when the boy asks her is she is going to Araby for the bazaar. She tells him that she cannot make it and he tells her “If I go, […] I will bring you something” (986). When he gets home from seeing the girl he thinks about the bazaar and says “The syllables...

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