Literature of Self Discovery
19 November 2013
Self-Realization Self-Realization is the most important first step towards the fulfillment of oneself. Self-Discovery is who a person and why is that person is that way. Sometimes, some moments may appear in one’s life at highest point to change ourselves. Self-Discovery influences one to make right decisions and helps you to choose the right direction in one’s life. The journey of self-discovery is to accept oneself as one are, and learn to know better, consider the importance of thinking as to how one think and look at learning as a lifelong process. In the respective stories “Eveline” and “Araby”, the main character from “Eveline,” discovers herself just in time to change the path of life whereas the main character from “Araby,” The young boy discovers himself that he had been a creative driven and derided by vanity. Both of the story characters discover a moment of thought, realization and analysis of the situation. According to Richard Wright , “Man can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread” (ln1-2). Wright describes that you cannot live a life without self-realization, much the same way as one cannot live a life without food. Self-Realization provides individuals with a way to live lives with content. In the story “Araby”, Joyce portrays a character who strives to achieve a goal and who comes to an epiphany through his failure to accomplish his goal. Joyce uses the setting of the story to help create a mood and to develop the characters. The setting is “An uninhabited house of two stories stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbors in a square ground” (Joyce ln 2-3). Joyce uses the words uninhabited, blind and detached not only to describe the narrator’s house, but also to mention about neighbors proximity. “Araby” is a story about a young boy who likes a girl across the street. The girl is his friend Mangan’s sister. He is deeply infatuated with her. One day, that girl mentions that she could not go to a bazaar named “Araby”. The boy thinks it is a good opportunity to win her heart. However, later, he gets very frustrated after arriving late to the bazaar when the shops are about to close. At the end, he could not buy a great gift for her. He realizes that his trip to the bazaar was worthless. His dreams did not work out and he could not buy anything as he expected. He realizes how distracted he was by his anticipation of the bazaar. He recalls that he “had hardly any patience with serious work of life” (Joyce ln 83-84). In the bazaar, the boy is seen “Gazing up into the darkness” (Joyce ln 164). His perception of the darkness causes him to reveal his own remoteness and loneliness. After passing through all these moments, he becomes disillusioned by the darkness, as quoted. He realizes that even if he had reached the bazaar on time, he would not have had enough money to buy a good gift for the girl. This made him conscious of his decision and self-aware. That was his first step into self-discovery as an adult. “Eveline” is a story about a young girl, Eveline, who works in a Dublin shop and takes care of her alcoholic father and her brothers. The story opens with a description of her “as being tired” (Joyce ln 3). Tired, in Joyce’s sense, is not just exhausted but an all-encompassing tiredness of her life. She wants to escape from Dublin and her family. However, she promised her mother that she will take care of her brothers and her abusive father. She realizes later in the story that she cannot go with frank when she comes to the conclusion that, “He would drown her” (Joyce ln 126-127). Eveline’s vision forces her to take control of her life and make a decision on her own. Self-discovery for Eveline plays out to her advantage because the question of who she really is and what she really wants is revealed in a moment of desperation and weighs on the decision to stay or to go. The fear of the unknown and the feeling of her guilt of leaving behind her family to pursue her own dreams leads her to make a decision that she is satisfied about, which is, to stay back and not elope with Frank. Joyce’s stories are based out of Dublin, as seen in both Eveline’s and the young boy’s stories. Dublin is portrayed as being in a zone of paralysis in several different ways. In the story “Eveline”, the young girl recognizes the negative aspects of her life in Dublin, but she also feels a sense of duty in her life. She was so paralyzed that she could not show any emotion. This was the biggest decision of her life and she could not act on it. She remained stuck in her old ways, perhaps scared of what could happen, scared of change. On the other hand, the paralysis in the story “Araby,” comes up when the young boy arrives at the bazaar and feels being there is useless and decides to buy nothing. As the boy says,“I lingered before her stall though I knew my stay was useless, to make my interest in her wares seem the more real” (Joyce ln 64-65). He had waited for this moment, to impress Mangan’s sister for so long, and he finally had the chance to move forward and do what he wanted, to but instead froze up and remained idle. This is the idea where Joyce is trying to show that people in Dublin are stuck with no means of escape. Thomas Jackson Rice, author of “Paradigm lost: ‘Grace’ and the arrangement of ‘Dubliners’”, describes all the stories of Dubliners that hint at the idea of paralysis, and mentions that if one looks at the entire collection, one can see that this is a theme that was intended to be there. Joyce even mentioned this in a letter he wrote before Dubliners was published explaining why he chooses his stories to be based out of Dublin and he quotes: “I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the center of paralysis” (Rice ln 21). Joyce wanted paralysis to be the theme and he showed it perfectly. Another perspective shows Joyce using religious symbols to show the importance of the Catholic religion in both the main character’s lives. Both have very strong belief in the Catholic religion. Eveline had been raised as a Catholic, and it was very difficult for her to keep a promise of her dead mother. She was always haunted by that promise, but she didn’t expect her to give up her life for this. On the other hand, the young boy revolves around religion and faith. He also had grown up Catholic, and he associates his life with the images and stories he has learned from the church. To show symbols of church, Joyce uses a former tenant of the young boy’s house, a Catholic priest, who left books; the books include non-religious and non-Catholic readings, which represent a feeling of ambiguity toward religion in general and Catholicism in particular. Both characters in the two stories of Joyce experience epiphanies when they realize the truth of their illusions and they are doomed in their lives. For example, in the story “Araby”, the young boy experiences his epiphany when he realizes that he has created an exotic illusion when he arrives late to the bazaar. He only hears the petty prattle of the few vendors left: “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger” (Joyce ln 166-167). The young boy understands the reality through darkness. In addition, darkness is a symbol for the clash between illusions and reality. Similarly, Eveline reaches an epiphany that she cannot escape from her life of servitude, her life to maintain her household; it is a promise that she made to her mother. As she realizes this, she feels depressed because she knows that her life will forever be the life of maintaining her house. Joyce’s stories “Araby,” and “Eveline,” both conclude with epiphanies that the characters fully register, yet these epiphanies are tinged with frustration and sadness. The book Dubliners by James Joyce contains stories of escape and non-human expressions, for example, the boy in “Araby” is described as a creature driven and derided by vanity, and “Eveline,” the young girl, was a helpless animal: Both stories end with different emotions told through their eyes. With these stories, Joyce clearly mentions that Eveline is fed up with her life in Dublin and is ready for a change, but she is trapped by her family and her country. In addition, Joyce uses same kind of language techniques in both stories. The more expansive idea to understand when reading stories such as these is that, it is not the moment of self-discovery that is so crucial, as much as it is what follows that moment. Joyce’s stories through Dubliners don’t have endings; they are mere stories that simply dissolve when enough has been discovered. Joyce makes the possibilities endless in both directions. The idea of realization implies the conception of capacities or possibilities and with this realization enables people to grow to become the person they feel most satisfied with. Often people’s dreams are big and not everything can be achieved in life. With self-realization and morality, one can prioritize their dreams and begin to work towards achieving them. This way, they can organize themselves in life and avoid wandering with a confused mind and thereby waste time. As ubiquitously quoted- “Time is Money”, indeed is one of the most useful mottos to help achieve people’s dreams.
Joyce, James. Dubliners. London: The Project Gutenberg Ebook of Dubliners, 2001. Ebook.
Rice, Jackson Thomas., Paradigm lost: “Grace” and the arrangement of Dubliners.”(Special “Dubliners” Number). Academic One File (1995): Web. 18 Nov .2013. Wright, Richard. “Self-Realization: A Path of finding Oneself.” Boston University (2013): 1. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. <