Topics: Dubliners, Epiphany, James Joyce Pages: 5 (1689 words) Published: December 6, 2010
In James Joyce’s “Araby”, “Eveline” and “ A Little Cloud” the chief theme that holds the stories together is the failure to find way out of paralysis. Though, at first glance, the stores seem simply to be realistic, objective descriptions of everyday life in Dublin, they are psychologically eventful. The psychological action often takes the form of an epiphany in which a commonplace action or object brings a character an unexpected revelation truth and a deep understanding of life. The moral center of these short sttories , however, is not paralysis alone by the revelation of paralysis to its victims - how it affects the characters emotional state by rendering them helpless and with the inability to act or make decisions. This paralysis exits due to religious, social or political forces. The dream to escape, with the delusion of detachment from these entrapments, is what Joyce’s characters are seeking. However, by sudden spiritual insights presented with Joyce’s epiphanies, the characters realize their inability to change their current frustrating situations that they are trapped with.

Araby”, the third short story in the Dubliners is about a boy who becomes disappointed with the world of self-delusion. Throughout the story, Joyce uses symbolism and contrasts darkness and lightness. The contrast between dark and light represents the boy’s world and how he is living in a world of spiritual stagnation, and as a result, his outlook on the world is severely limited. He is innocent, ignorant and lost.He can only see specific images of a frustrating boring life in a dying and unimaginative city that presented his paralyzed environment. He is searching for the light that he needs for his spirituality. Mangan’s sister, the only symbol of light, appears in the boy’s world of darkness. Because of her, he finds himself entering a new experience, his first love and his imagination and vocabulary while thinking about her is limited by the experiences of his religious training and he romantic novels he has read. The result is an idealistic and confused feeling of physical and spiritual love. Although he has “Never spoken to her, except for a few casual words” (Joyce 22), her name became a “summons to all his foolish blood” (Joyce 22). She becomes an image to all he seeks. In his only conversation with her, she reveals that she will not be able to go to the “Araby” bazaar, although she would like to. She suggests that he should go. He speaks impulsively: “If I go, I will bring you some thing” (Joyce 23). His opportunity has come. he will go to “Araby”, which represents his soul’s luxuries, then he can bring a talisman, the Arabian symbol of restoring life. At this point, he feels that the lost light of his world will be restored. However, he spends his days and nights thinking and dreaming about the enchanted Eastern world, “Araby”. He builds his hopes and dreams on the moment when he goes to the “Araby” bazaar and brings something for the one he loves. The delay he encounters from his uncle to get the money needed to go to the “Araby” bazaar frustrates him. Finally, his uncle arrives. His uncle feels sorry for him, because he knows that he will be disappointed after all these dreams of going to the bazaar. He reminds him about “The Arabs farewell to his steed” (Joyce 26) which stands for the Arabs willingness to welcome his departed horse is only in his dreams. It mirrors his farewell to romantic illusions. Arriving at the bazaar, he finds it nearly empty. He realizes, “a silence like that which pervades a church after service” (Joyce 26). The church is empty; it is not attended by the faithful nor does it contain the spirituality he seeks. Suddenly the boy realizes that he has placed all his love and hope in a world that doesn’t exists, except in his imagination. He experiences an epiphany, his awakening moment, from a world full of light and truth to broken dreams that led to the first steps of his adulthood.

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