Symbolic Short Stories

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Symbolic Short Stories

James Naylor
October 13, 2008

Symbolism is when repeated images gather significant meaning throughout a story and can be directly related to the overall premise. There are a few symbols in James Joyce’s “Araby” and “Eveline” that can be compared in terms of similar significance. Both stories give you symbols that point towards dreariness, gloominess and just overall sadness in the story. If looked at closely, the characters in both stories have desire to escape their dull lifestyles. They also both end with neither of the main characters getting exactly what they want. Sometimes reading these stories once, as short as they are, is not enough. You have to read them over and try and capture the essence of the objects and characters involved. The setting is sometimes more important than people like to believe. It is imperative to analyze the authors’ use of symbolism when you are trying to figure out the true meaning of these two stories.

Sometimes the description of the setting will include certain details that are actually symbols helping you understand a bigger idea. “Araby” starts by describing this “uninhabited house” on the “blind end” of a dead end street. The house is “detached from its neighbors”, while the other houses “gaze at one another with brown imperturbable faces”. Right away you can tell that this is not a pleasant or enjoyable place to be living. Not just the neighborhood but the house the boy actually lives in. The previous owner was a priest who died in the back room, a room where the boy finds books with “curled and damp” pages, indicating how aged they are. The air is expressed as “musty”, which just gives the reader a feeling of desolation. The color brown is used for more somber and dull type settings, which is exactly what this is. Everyone is referred to as being “set free” from school every day, which just sets the mood that there is a feeling of entrapment...