Araby - 1

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Holly Cao
Position Paper #2
Word Count #621
1102 T/R 10:30-12:30

Joyce’s short story “Araby” is believed to be a reflection of his own life as a boy growing up in Dublin. The story is very complex with many themes applied. Joyce uses the voice of the young boy as a narrator; however the narrator seems much more mature then the boy in the story; who strives to achieve a goal and who comes to discover through his failure to accomplish that goal. The story is focused on escape and fantasy; about darkness, despair, and enlightenments. The short story is a display of Joyce’s constant struggle between ideals and reality. Araby has many applied themes; the two most obvious are escape and fantasy. Signs of religion and a boy's first love can also be relevant to the story. Araby is an attempt by the boy to escape the depressing darkness of North Richmond Street. Joyce organizes an attempt to escape the "short days of winter", "where night falls early" and streetlights are but "feeble lanterns" failing miserably to light the somberness of the "dark muddy lanes" (504). Symbolically, Joyce calls the street blind, a dead end; much like Dublin itself in the mid 1890s when Joyce lived on North Richmond Street as a young boy. A recurring theme of darkness weaves itself through the story; the boy hides in shadows from his uncle or to timidly catch a glimpse of his friend Mangan's sister who obliviously is his first love.

Araby is about escaping into the world of fantasy. The narrator is in love with his friend's sister; he hides in the shadows, emerge quietly from a distance to try and spy on her. “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.” (504). She is the light in his fantasy, someone who will lift him out of darkness. The boy sees the bazaar at Araby as an opportunity to win her over, as a way to light the candle in her eyes. However, the boy is more awkward then shy,...
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