Araby Notes

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"In James Joyce's short story "Araby," the male narrator's coming-of-age is transposed against a tale of an innocent woman's supposed falling from grace, in the eyes of the young man. The young man promises to go to a fair called Araby. The name "Araby" was often thought to comprise the fictional or romanticized version of Arabia or Arab world, such as in the then-popular song "The Sheik of Araby." ("Araby, 2005) The young man promises to bring the young woman something from the far-off and exotic fair. However, when the young man goes to the fair and sees what goes on there between English men and women in the foreign and carnival context, his pure image of the woman is broken and destroyed. This fall from grace not only parallels the Original Sin narrative of Genesis, where the woman's sin causes her husband to be cast from the garden, and the broken quest for the Holy Grail, where purity and the real world cannot co-exist. "

"A coming of age story deals with the growth and change of a young person into an adult. In some stories the growth of the character is conveyed in a coming of age flow of events, while in others a character experiences an epiphany that suddenly gives him or her great insight into the reality of life. Stories of maturation show the events that guide the young person into acceptance of adulthood. James Joyce's "Araby" is a good example of the adolescent experience because it contains literary elements such as characterization, narrative point of view, language, and epiphany that create a contrast between adulthood and adolescence, and between the protagonist's fantasies and the reality of the adult world."

This paper looks at how James Joyce's protagonist in "Araby" travels to the bazaar on a quest to obtain an exotic treasure for his lady love and how, like a mythic hero, he has overcome obstacles on his journey. At the end of his voyage, however, he finds no Holy Grail but only flowery knick-knacks. It examines the narrator's...
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