Conflict in Jame's Joyce's "Araby"

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Conflict in Jame's Joyce's "Araby"

By | November 2005
Page 1 of 3
"Araby", a short story by James Joyce, deals with the passions of a teenage boy for his friend's sister and points out the cynicisms of society. Throughout the story, the readers are allowed to see the struggle of the young boy as he deals with the problems he faces growing up in a poor environment. James Joyce uses conflict with the boy and his family, his social class, and with himself to show how poverty and despair tarnish even the purest of childhood dreams.

Joyce uses conflict within the boy's family to illustrate the hardship the boy must face in his present condition. When the boy first mentions his friend's sister, he tells us he has never even spoken to her, except for a few casual words. He is obsessed as only a young teenager can be. The boy agrees to go out and buy something for her in the market called Araby. However, to even accomplish such a task, he must get money from his family. The boy lives the life of an orphan with his aunt and uncle, who work hard to survive amid the cruelties of the world. The eager boy reminds his uncle about the market, but he finds his uncle busy at work, "He was fussing at the hallstand, looking for the hat-brush, and answered me curtly: 'Yes, boy, I know" (567). This quote shows how his family does not understand the problem the boy is facing. They are too busy trying to make ends meet and do not understand how much this trip means to the boy. His uncle dismisses his request as a mere childish craving. From his uncle's curt reply, the boy already sensed disappointment, " I felt the house in bad humour and walked slowly towards the school. The air was pitilessly raw and already my heart misgave me" (567). However, the boy patiently waits all night for his uncle. His frustration is apparent when he clenches his fists in anticipation. No one seems to comprehend the frustration and anxiety the boy is facing, which in turn adds to the boy's anger. Conflict is further shown when the boy's uncle comes home at 9 P.M.,...