Araby by James Joyce – Term Paper

Araby by James Joyce


     Araby is a fictional short story set in Dublin. It is a blend of well-chosen words put together in a sensitive and aesthetic artistic manner by its author James Joyce. James was an intelligent, Irish author with great knowledge in literature and diverse languages born in the year 1882 in Ireland. He pursued a degree in Arts at the University College of Dublin. James was a renowned Multi-linguist with the ability to speak in Arabic and Greek among other 17 languages of the world. He also spent a part of his life in France to study medicine which he later abandoned and lost his mother as a young man. His father was an alcoholic which ended up affecting the familys finances. The death of her mother diver stated him. James was always against the Roman Catholic rule and thought they derailed Ireland nation. James got married to a lady by the name Norah. Apart from Araby James wrote books like Ulysses and Finnegans Wake among others (Harry, 2013). This paper seeks to extensively analyse Araby in term of its content, interpretation, themes and its literary nature.            

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Setting critic

Setting of Araby is personified to the extent that one can almost feel a deep sense of knowledge of Dublin even when they have never been there. The vivid description by the author is so captivating and elaborate _ unhabituated house.stood at the blind end_ (29).This is an expression on hopelessness and reasons of the boys thought. However, with the introduction of the girl in the story the young boy finds a meaningful life and something to look forward to everyday. Additionally, Mrs Mercer the widow seems to be having a rough time in the setting (Harry 2013) with all the gossip and the bad air in the night. A mental picture is definitely captured of the general setting as displayed by the author.

Plot Analysis

Araby is a beautiful piece of art that surrounds the life of a young boy in Dublin. The boy finds himself in a constant frenzy of thoughts about a priest who met his death in the house that he lives with his uncle and aunt. The boy just like his age mates gets to play and survive in a neighbourhood with his friends. It is great precision that the author elaborates how the boy falls into a state of infatuation with a girl across the street who is a sister to Mangan. The girl fills the little boys thoughts all through to the extent that the boy fantasises in class. In the fourth paragraph, ironically, the boy feels studies are destructing him from thinking about the magnificent girl across the street. This is seen in the way the narrator closely monitors the girl. He has a crush on the girl bearing in mind he barely knows her. The obsession yields up to the extent that in school mornings, he awaits her and trails her until where their paths separate. However, the girl finally talked to the narrator and invited him to the bazaar.

Effect of Joyces life on Araby

The short story is a version of Joyces life in his youthful days. The beginning is entirely of a boy in distress in an uncomfortable location just like Joyces following the death of his mother. However, hope is built as the boy had an illusion of romance a similar hope in Joyces life as he married and moved to France with his wife. The struggles and wishes are similar for Joyce as a young man and the narrator as they both had to defy society in achieving what they termed as their heart desires (Harry, 2013).

Literary devices and themes analysis

     Araby the title is highly symbolic with the events around the narrators life. Reflectively, the word means a further land full of entertainment and riches. The narrator is filled with an illusion of romance that has confused him. It is clearly seen in his interpretation of little action to mean strong sign s of love and interest from Magnans sister. He is not realistic and his dreams come to an end on his arrival in bazaar (Harry,2013).The title just sums up the state of confusion and wishful thinking by the young boy, narrator.

     Also, Joyce depicts all women to have the nature of tempting and later betraying men from Mangans sister, Norah, Molly and Emma in his works. Just like the narrator adored the girl to the extent that could be termed as worshipping her in the short story that entails love and worship. The end is fatal, as the narrator ends up with a broken heart as proves Joyces theme across his books.

     Additionally, Joyce uses the colour brown in elaborating Dublin and Mangans sister. In his description of Dublin it is symbolic in that it bring out the aspect of the area being dry and plain (1).In relation to the girls origin of Arab in nature which he later associates with the nature of hopelessness in Dublin.

     Joyce has explored and manipulated literary devices in the most attractive way possible from the narrators point of view and presentation of the short story. For instance he uses figurative expressions to tap into the readers emotion .These he does by applying a rhetoric parable in the instance whether the boys experience of infatuation and romance where a childish situation or it would ever turn into something real. The boy had the option of accepting his destiny as per the bazaar final instances or pursuing the romantic instance further as expressed in his words Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity.(Harry,2013). Moreover, his gazing into the darkness is simply symbolic of a moment of despair as opposed to romance that was the initial Araby.

     Allusion is also utilised by Joyce in Araby to relate the feeling that the boy has towards the girl as being divine as though religious. The Devout Communicant a book written by a priest on religious allusion.

     Ironically, the narrator gets to see the light at the end of the story when he came to terms with the fact that Mangans sister was not interested in him romantically as he had fantasized before. This he experienced when he saw the lady talk to two gentlemen after his hard encounter to get to the bazaar.

     Foreshadow is experienced in the second paragraph with the priests life casting what will happen to the narrator having in mind that the priest was optimistic in his earlier life. However with his official life as a priest things did not go as he had hoped for and realised that religion was not as fulfilling as he had hoped. The interpretation is solely based on Joyces life as a young person against the belief of Catholic having believed that it misled people of Ireland. Joyce characterized the narrator as a naive young person and gave a backdrop of the priest hence foreshadowing real life in Dublin.

     Joyce has wisely merged his personal life and his work of literature in laying out facts of life to the reader in the different themes of religion, romance, ways of life and societal expectations. It helps the reader through a journey of self-evaluation on what really matters in their lives and their greater perception of situations. It further sheds light on the various priorities that human beings take upon themselves that only lead to self-destruction and wastage of time.


     All in all the story in a narration and lesson on idealism and religious relations as brought out with the plot surrounding romance and a young mans discovery at the end. Joyce has incorporated various themes and written the story in the most aesthetic manner that keeps the reader intrigued. A wide range of analysis can be obtained from the short story as one can bluntly or base the analysis on the authors life too. Araby is an interesting and critical read.

Work cited

Joyce, James. ‚ÄúAraby.‚ÄĚ . Dubliner. London: Grant Richard, 1914. 152.

Stone, Harry (American writer). ‚ÄúArabyand the Writings of James Joyce.‚ÄĚ The Antioch Review Spring 2013.