Epiphanies in James Joyce's the Dead and Araby

Topics: Dubliners, Love, James Joyce Pages: 3 (986 words) Published: March 15, 2009
An Epiphany of Love
James Joyce does a tactful job of drawing up the epiphanies in “Araby” and “The Dead”. The main characters in both stories come to the realization that what they initially thought belonged to them, doesn’t completely. The young boy in “Araby” has a complete crush on the sister of a friend. This crush causes him to day dream about her “At night in [his] bedroom and by day in the classroom” (Joyce, Araby Text). Unfortunately for him, his pursuit ends when he could not bring her back anything and he understands that he will never have her for himself because he wouldn’t be able to keep his promise. Somewhat along the same lines, the main character in “The Dead”, Gabriel, has an epiphany of awkward proportions. His plight ends when his wife hears a song that reminds her of her first love that died at a young age, so long ago. Although this love was before he came along, he realizes that she loves the dead man buried more than she loves the living, Gabriel, her husband. These characters become victims of a love from two different realities but in the end both have to accept the same barefaced realism. The beginning of Araby opens with great mentions of darkness, as the boy explains his neighborhood. The “dark muddy lanes behind the houses”, “dark odorous stables”, and “dark tripping gardens” gives a dull and depressing feel to the neighborhood. The moment that the girl is presented, “she was waiting for [them], her figure outlined by the light from the half-opened door” (Joyce, Araby Text) , there was no more darkness. This appearance brings light and an uplifting spirit to the once dreary place. You immediately recognize his affection for her by his way of explaining her appearance. After the first sight of her, all of his care begins to come out with him explaining the different moments that he thinks of her. The boy acquires a crush turned infatuation with the girl. He wants to gain her attention and he also wants her to acknowledge him. The...

Cited: Joyce, James. Araby Text. 9 March 2009 .
Joyce, James. "The Dead." Davis, Paul, et al. Western Literature in a World Context. Boston,
New York: Bedford/ St. Martin 's, 1995. 1543-1570.
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