Lost In Love: A Comparison Of "At The Pitt Rivers" To "Araby"

796 words - 3 pages

In both Penelope Lively's "At the Pitt-Rivers" and James Joyce's "Araby" the boy narrators have skewed views about love. Throughout his particular story however, each narrator realizes that his ideas on love were mistaken and begins to modify his muddled thinking.In "At the Pitt-Rivers" the sixteen year-old narrator was certain that he knew all there was to know about love. "I mean, I've seen films and I've read books and I know a bit about things. As a matter of fact I've been in love twice myself" (25 - "At the Pitt-Rivers"). The first time was with a girl from his class at school and the later time was with a girl who came to stay with her sister, who lived around the corner from him. He was convinced that he was knowledgeable and experienced on the subject of love. However, his romanticized and idealized views of love are far from the truth. According to him, "you fancy people your own age and that's all there is to it" (27-28 - ATPR) and attractive people only fall in love with other attractive people. The same holds true for unattractive people. "...[T]hey'll always be the two good lookers...."(25 - ATPR). His misconception came not only from his essentially nonexistent personal experience, but from books and movies as well. "...I've seen films and I've read books and I know a bit about things" (25). But through observing the relationship of a couple in a museum he was able to see the errors in his thinking and begins to understand more fully what love is really about. It includes things the narrator hadn't thought about before such as talking and simply enjoying another's company.It is harder to grasp what the boy from "Araby" initially thinks and then learns because Joyce is not as straightforward as Lively. However, he certainly is more naïve and innocent than the teenager. He is madly in love with Magnan's sister, a girl about whom he says, "I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words" (16 -Araby). Much like the other narrator's initial thoughts, the boy is convinced that he can be in love with someone he barely knows. Through his fantasies, the boy has convinced himself that he knows her better than he really does. "Every morning I lay on...

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