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The Sisters And An Encounter Essay

1121 words - 4 pages

Like the two previous stories, The Sisters and An Encounter, Araby is
about a somewhat introverted boy fumbling toward adulthood with little
in the way of guidance from family or community. The truants in An
Encounter managed

A young boy who is similar in age and temperament to those in “The
Sisters” and “An Encounter” develops a crush on Mangan’s sister, a
girl who lives across the street. One evening she asks him if he plans
to go to a bazaar (a fair organized, probably by a church, to raise
money for charity) called Araby. The girl will be away on a retreat
when the bazaar is held and therefore unable to attend. The boy
promises that if he goes he will bring her something from Araby.

The boy requests and receives permission to attend the bazaar on
Saturday night. When Saturday night comes, however, his uncle returns
home late, possibly having visited a pub after work. After much
anguished waiting, the boy receives money for the bazaar, but by the
time he arrives at Araby, it is too late. The event is shutting down
for the night, and he does not have enough money to buy something nice
for Mangan’s sister anyway. The boy cries in frustration.

Like the two previous stories, “The Sisters” and “An Encounter,”
“Araby” is about a somewhat introverted boy fumbling toward adulthood
with little in the way of guidance from family or community. The
truants in “An Encounter” managed to play hooky from school without
any major consequences; no one prevented them from journeying across
town on a weekday or even asked the boys where they were going.
Similarly, the young protagonist of this story leaves his house after
nine o’clock at night, when “people are in bed and after their first
sleep,” and travels through the city in darkness with the assent of
his guardians. Like the main character in “The Sisters,” this boy
lives not with his parents but with an aunt and uncle, the latter of
whom is certainly good-natured but seems to have a drinking problem.
When the man returns home, he is talking to himself and he almost
knocks over the coat rack. He has forgotten about his promise to the
boy, and when reminded of it—twice—he becomes distracted by the
connection between the name of the bazaar and the title of a poem he
knows. The boy’s aunt is so passive that her presence proves
inconsequential.

Like “An Encounter,” “Araby” takes the form of a quest—a journey in
search of something precious or even sacred. Once again, the quest is
ultimately in vain. In “An Encounter,” the Pigeon House was the object
of the search; here, it is Araby. Note the sense of something
passionately sought, against the odds: “We walked through the flaring
streets, jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses
of labourers, the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by
the barrels of pigs' cheeks, the nasal chanting of street-singers . .
. . These noises converged in a single sensation of life for me: I
...

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