Araby vs First Confession

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Lavon Minter
Eng 1302

Short Story Essay

James Joyce’s short story “Araby” and Frank O’Connor’s story “First Confession” both have a first-person narrator, and both stories describe a the author’s coming of age as a young boy. The way the narrator in each story crafts the coming-of-age story is somewhat different, although there are also some similarities in approach. This paper will discuss each story individually and then conclude with a brief summary of the similarities and differences. “Araby” is a rather gloomy story in which the narrator describes his experience of wanting to go to a bazaar but of his uncle forgetting to give him the money until the bazaar was nearly over. The narrator incorporates a religious component into the story—a priest that has died in the back bedroom and the sister of a friend across the street who is a nun and upon whom the boy has a crush. The first time the nun speaks to the boy, she asks him if he is going to Araby, a bazaar. Although she cannot go herself, he tells her that if he goes he will bring her something, and from that point on he becomes obsessed with going and finds it hard to concentrate on anything else. The boy’s frustration in waiting to go to the bazaar is increased when his uncle is late coming home, and he notes, “I began to walk up and down the room, clenching my fists,” which creates a picture of frustration (Joyce 28). When the uncle finally returns, the frustration increases, because the uncle thinks it is too late for the bazaar, but the aunt convinces him to give the boy the money anyway. When the boy finally arrives at the bazaar, most of the stalls are already closed, and when all the lights are shortly turned out at the bazaar, he states, “I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger” (Joyce 29). Although still a boy, he has already missed much of life, and the narrator emphasizes his lack of fulfillment. The way the narrator...
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