Realizing Mistakes In James Joyce's Araby

745 words - 3 pages

Many times in life, people set unrealistic expectations for themselves or for other people. This is not a very wise thing to do because people often feel disappointed and embarrassed for getting their hopes up so high. One good example of this is the narrator in the short story, Araby, by James Joyce. In the story Araby, a young man develops an infatuation with his friend, Magan’s, sister. Because his infatuation is so strong, he fears he will be unable to express his feelings to her, so when she mentions she cannot go to the local bazaar she has wanted to attend, he seizes this as a perfect opportunity and volunteers to buy her a gift. In the characters mind, giving Magan’s sister a gift will help him earn her attention and maybe in the long run, her affection. With this in mind, the character gets so excited, that he sets his hopes unrealistically high. When he finally arrives at the bazaar, it is then that he realizes his foolishness and decides not to buy her a gift. The narrator feels “driven and derided by vanity” (128) because he has set his expectations unrealistically high and has become completely wrapped up in his fantasy of winning Magan’s sister’s love.
In the beginning of the story, the main character is extremely captivated by Magan’s sister. She is almost always present in his thoughts. He states, “At night in my bed room and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the page I strove to read” (125). The character usually begins his day with glimpses of Magan’s sister from across the street. Even though the narrator routinely thinks of her, their first conversation was their encounter about the bazaar. Thinking that buying her a gift would make her notice him is very unrealistic since he rarely talks to her. To volunteer to buy her a gift is an impulsive thought, but it is sincere because it is an attempt to win her attention. He thinks buying a gift would also help him express his feeling toward her. He says,” I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration” (125). As the story progresses, the character...

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