Introduction to Literature
An initiation in James Joyce’s story “Araby”
Many times in life, people set unrealistic expectations for themselves or for other people. This is not a very wise thing to do because people often feel disappointed and embarrassed for getting their hopes up so high. One good example of this is the narrator in the short story “Araby” by James Joyce. In his brief but complex story James Joyce concentrates on character rather than on plot to reveal the ironies within self-deception.
On its simplest level, "Araby" is a story about a boy's first love. On a deeper level, it is a story about the world he lives in that is full of ideals and dreams. "Araby" is a story of initiation, of a boy's quest for the ideal where the quest ends in failure, but results in an inner awareness and a first step into manhood. The protagonist of the story lives through a particular sort of experience which reformulates him into a different person. He faces up the harsh reality for which his previous experience has not prepared him. The story shows how the impact of the neighborhood and culture of Dublin influenced the boy’s life ideas, and how the circumstances the boy had to face up with made the him revalue his attitude towards his life.
The story opens with a description of North Richmond Street: “North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street ... An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground. The other houses of the street gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.”(p. 432) From the very first line it becomes obvious that Joyce doesn’t want the readers to be amazed by the setting of the story. He, probably, on the contrary wants to draw readers’ attention to the fact that there is nothing attractive that can be noticed on North Richmond Street. The only feeling that may occur after such a description is loneliness, boredom, and disgust. This is the first...