LeBla George Gibson
11 November 2013
The Road to Araby
James Joyce’s “Araby” is a short story of a nameless boy in Dublin who has a typical crush on his friend Mangan’s sister, and because of it, journeys to a bazaar called Araby, where he finally comes to a realization about his immature actions. This is the basis for the entire story, but the ideas Joyce presents with this story revolve around how the boy reacts to these feelings, and ultimately how he realizes his tragedy. Joyce spends some of the story introducing the boy’s thoughts on the area in which he lives, and similarly how he feels about the life he has lived thus far. Joyce builds up the boy’s dislike for the simple aspects of his daily life, and how he feels bored with where he lives and what he does. Then Joyce shows us what excites the boy; the girl with whom he is obsessed. The key to his crush is in what it makes the boy do, and how it forces him to act without thinking. The author of “Araby”, James Joyce, is known for using mythic structures in his work. One of these mythic structures is known as a Monomyth. In a Monomyth, the hero begins in LeBlanc 2 the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter a new unfamiliar world. The hero who accepts the call to enter this strange world must face obstacles, either alone or with help. If the hero survives the obstacles, he may achieve a great gift. The hero must then decide whether to return to the ordinary world with this gift, or remain in the mythical world. If the hero does decide to return, he or she often faces challenges on the return journey. If the hero returns successfully, the gift may be used to improve the ordinary world that he or she lives (Monomyth). The structure of the Monomyth includes several specific stages. The journey begins with the hero being introduced in his Ordinary World where he receives the Call to Adventure. Approaching the Threshold he encounters tests, allies and enemies. He reaches the Innermost Cave where he endures the Ordeal. He retrieves the Reward and is awarded new knowledge. He is Resurrected and changed by his experience. He returns to his ordinary world with an Elixir to benefit his world. James Joyce’s “Araby” is structured on the mythic pattern known as the Monomyth or Journey of the Hero. Throughout this argument, I will show how Joyce uses the mythic pattern of a Monomyth in his short story “Araby”. Author Christopher Vogler notes the first stage of the Monomyth is called The Ordinary World. The Ordinary World is the context, home base, and background of the hero in the story. Writers make the Ordinary World seem calm and boring to show contrast from the special world the hero fanaticizes about (Vogler 86). Joyce uses this stage in the beginning of his short story “Araby”. The details Joyce gives about his home and neighborhood show how he describes his Ordinary World in the story. LeBlanc 3 He gives a very negative and dark view of his home. Joyce describes the street he lives on as being “blind” and “quiet”, and the only time it comes alive is when the boys are let out of school( 39). He also describes the other homes on the street. He states “The other homes on the street, conscious of the decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces” (Joyce 39). This creates an image of isolation and uneasiness. Joyce used this Monomyth very well in “Araby”. Vogler notes the second...
Cited: Joyce,James.“Araby”. The Portable James Joyce. Ed. Harry Levin. New York: Viking Press, 1947.
“Monomyth.” Wikipedia.Wikimedia, Nid. Web. 20 Oct. 2013
Vogler, Christopher. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structures for the Writers. Santa Cruz:
Michael Wise Productions, 1988. Print.
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