Routine, Escape, and Life & Death in “Araby”
Of the many stories in this collection, Joyce uses many themes in each particular story and reuses the themes again many times in the stories following. The three major themes that were quite a standout were when the main character of one story had to deal with either: the Imprisonment of Routine, the Strong Willing Desire for Escape, or the Corresponding Intersection of Life and Death. Along with many others, “Araby” had these three themes laid out in the story for the reader to pick out. Some sort of routine is experienced by Joyce’s characters in stories throughout his book. For example, school is a wearisome routine for the narrator of “An Encounter”: But when the restraining influence of the school was at a distance I began to hunger again for wild sensations, for the escape which those chronicles of disorder alone seemed to offer me. The mimic warfare of the evening became at last as wearisome to me as the routine of school in the morning because I wanted real adventures to happen to myself. But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad. ( pg. 11)
In “The Dead,” Gabriel extemporizes on the everyday:
Therefore, I will not linger on the past. I will not let any gloomy moralising intrude upon us here tonight. Here we are gathered together for a brief moment from the bustle and rush of our everyday routine. (pg. 166)
In “Araby,” the narrator is stuck in his everyday routine, desperately trying to gather up the courage to break it. This happened morning after morning. I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words … (pg. 19).
All these characters are trying to escape or break out the routine that they have experienced through past life. To escape his (the narrator’s) routine, the narrator tells his “love” that he will buy her something on his adventure into a town carnival. "If I go," I said, "I will bring you something."(“Araby”...
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