Araby by James Joyce

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Araby by James Joyce
James Joyce writes about the realization of reality in "Araby". The story opens with a description of North Richmond Street, which if filled with decaying conformity and false piety. The boy's house contains the same sense of a dead present and a lost past. The former tenant, a priest, died in the back room of the house, and his legacy-several old yellowed books, which the boy enjoys leafing through because they are old, and a bicycle pump rusting in the back yard-become symbols of the intellectual and religious vitality of the past. Every morning before school the boy lies on the floor in the front parlor peeking out through a crack in the blind of the door, watching and waiting for the girl next door to emerge from her house and walk to school. He is shy and still boyish. He follows her, walks silently past, not daring to speak, overcome with a confused sense of sensual desire and religious adoration. In his mind she is both a saint to be worshipped and a woman to be desired. One evening he goes to the back room where the priest had died and clasps the palms of his hands together, he murmurs, "love! love!" in a prayer not to God, but to the concept of love. Finally the girl speaks to the boy. She asks him if he is going to Araby, and he replies that if he does he will bring her a gift. The second part of the story depicts the boy's inevitable disappointment and realization. In such an atmosphere of "blindness"-the aunt and uncle unaware of the boy's anguish, the girl not conscious of the boy's love. His love, like his quest for a gift to draw the girl to him in an unfriendly world, ends with his realizing that his love existed only in his mind.
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