Araby - Short Essay

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Joseph Campbell’s theory of monomyth can be applied to almost every story and movie that we encounter today. Elements of myth have found their way into countless “non-mythological” stories. For example, superheroes are, oftentimes, very god-like. The Star Wars trilogy mirrors the age-old ‘good versus evil’ conflict. Luke Skywalker follows the “departure-initiation-return” pattern, just as the unnamed narrator in James Joyce’s Araby. This monomyth pattern, most commonly connected to Campbell, is clearly present in Araby, which allows the reader to apply his own beliefs to create a moral theme throughout the story. The application of Joseph Campbell’s notion of the literary journey consisting of a departure, initiation and return as can be illustrated in James Joyce’s short story, “Araby,” demonstrates how mythology constitutes a vessel for critical thinking that allows the reader to explore his or her literary culture in a surprisingly meaningful and personal way. Campbell’s three stages -departure, initiation, return- are further broken up into seventeen different stages, though most stories do not cover all seventeen. One of the primary stages of departure is described by Campbell as “The Call to Adventure”, which he defines as "A blunder…reveals an unsuspected world, and the individual is drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly understood.” (____). Joyce clearly uses this in Araby when he introduces the characters playing in the lower-class streets of Dublin. The narrator is drawn “into a relationship” with Mangan’s sister. His adventure happens to be his trip to Araby to fetch her a present. This is not unlike the story of Helen of Troy, where the warriors are drawn into battle over the obsession with Helen. The narrator is no stranger to obstacles along his way, which is another defining trait of departure. His alcoholic uncle is late yet again and he cannot find an entrance to the bazaar. It is amazing, how in such a short...
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