The Relationship Between Man and Woman in Araby

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Araby

James Joyce, an icon of the modernist era had many works that were moving away from the classical styles of literature put before him. Joyce is known for leading his characters towards some kind of personal insight and on the surface, Araby seems to be only about a boy learning about the truth of capitalism. As you dive deep in to his words and meaning however, it is apparent that Joyce’s message is not as black and white as it appears on the surface. This story is also about the relationship between men and women. It is about how women are capable of influencing a man’s actions/behaviors and why men feel as if they need to exert their “dominance” over women.

Joyce purposely makes the protagonist a young boy who chases after an older girl. He does this to elevate the status of the girl and portray her as larger than the boy. He is basically saying early in the story that woman has some kind of superiority over man. The beginning of the story is innocent enough, the boy explains how he plays in the street with his best friend (Mangan) and hides from his uncle so he doesn’t have to go in. This is where the girl is introduced. Neither she nor the boy has a name hinting that they are representative of all men and women. The boy is absolutely infatuated with the girl and it is apparent in the paragraphs right after she is introduced. He watches her from afar, has a certain routine so that he passes her every morning, and even imagines victory due to his love as he walks through his marketplace. She is the focal point of all his thoughts and it is shown that he is helpless to her influence when he utters “O love! O love!” over and over in private. He is but a helpless romantic during this point of the story driven by his undeserving love for this girl. Their only conversation is a brief, but huge one and what she says and how she acts says all. She plays with her bracelet, signifying the importance of materialistic items in her life and communicating...
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