Obsession in Araby
In James Joyce’s short story "Araby," the main character is a young boy who confuses obsession with love. This boy thinks he is in love with a young girl, but all of his thoughts, ideas, and actions show that he is merely obsessed. Throughout this short story, there are many examples that show the boy’s obsession for the girl. There is also evidence that shows the boy does not really understand love or all of the feelings that go along with it.
When the boy first describes the girl, you can see his obsession for her. He seems to notice every detail such as "her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side" (Joyce 548). You do not usually remember every minute detail of someone unless you are very intrigued by them. Also, note the way he describes her hair as "soft rope." This shows the intricate way the boy views her.
Another way you can see the young boy’s obsession for the girl is through his actions. Every morning, he waits for the girl to appear, and then he follows her. The way in which the boy waits for the girl definitely shows that he is obsessed with her. The young boy lies "on the floor in the front parlour watching her. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that [he] could not be seen" (Joyce 548). This sounds like spying, and spying on someone usually indicates that you have a fixation with that person. In this case, the young boy does demonstrate this fixation.
For instance, while the young boy is following her, this is the way he describes his adventure: "I kept her brown figure always in my eye, and when we came near the point at which our ways diverged, I quickened my pace and passed her. This happened morning after morning. I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood" (Joyce 548). This shows that the boy always watches where she is going, and then goes out of his way to get physically closer to her. In this example, you can plainly see that the boy’s actions are being controlled by his obsession for the girl, and not by some great love he has for her.
Another example, that shows the boy’s obsession for the young girl, comes after the two of them have a brief conversation. In the conversation, the young girl asks the young boy if he is "going to Araby" (Joyce 548), and then the girl states that "it would be a splendid bazaar, she would love to go" (Joyce 549), but she is already obligated to something else. Finally, the young boy says, "If I go, I will bring you something (Joyce 549). After the boy speaks to the girl, he finds it hard to concentrate on anything except for her. This is how the boy describes what he is feeling just after his brief conversation with the young girl:
What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and sleeping thoughts after that evening! d to annihilate the tedious intervening days. I...