Date: 2017-03-15 10:24
The narrator, an unnamed boy, describes the North Dublin street on which his house is located. He thinks about the priest who died in the house before his family moved in and the games that he and his friends played in the street. He recalls how they would run through the back lanes of the houses and hide in the shadows when they reached the street again, hoping to avoid people in the neighborhood, particularly the boy&rsquo s uncle or the sister of his friend Mangan. The sister often comes to the front of their house to call the brother, a moment that the narrator savors.
It is true, as a writer reminds us, that no matter the work,Joyce always views the order and disorder of the world in terms ofthe Catholic faith in which he was reared. 7 In Araby, however,there is, in addition, an overlay of Eastern mysticism. This diversity of background materials intensifies the universality of the can turn to the language and the images of the story to see howthe boy's world is shown in terms of these diverse backgounds.
The account of the boy's futile quest emphasizes both his lonelyidealism and his ability to achieve the perspectives he now has. Thequest ends when he arrives at the bazaar and realizes with slow, tor-tured clarity that Araby is not at all what he imagined. It is tawdryand dark and thrives on the profit motive and the eternal lure itsname evokes in men. The boy realizes that he has placed all his loveand hope in a world that does not exist except in his imagination. Hefeels angry and betrayed and realizes his self-deception. He feels he is a creature driven and derided by vanity and the vanity is his own.
SOURCE: “Joyce's Narrative Strategies in ‘Araby,’” in Modern Fiction Studies, Vol. 78, No. 6, Spring, 6987, pp. 95–57.
… Of the three opening stories in Dubliners, “Araby” presents by far the clearest framing of narrated events within the controlling viewpoint of a definite narrator. Here, finally, is a narrator whose relation to his early self can be confidently gauged and whose interpretation of the past has some claim to authoritativeness—or so it seems. A fairly consistent level of ironic detachment helps us locate.
The little boy lives with his aunt and uncle on a dead-end street in Dublin, in a house formerly occupied by a now deceased priest. The boy is impressed and somewhat mystified by the moldy books—a historical romance, a pious tract, and a detective autobiography—and other reminders of the previous tenant.
I watched my master&rsquo s face pass from amiability to sternness he hoped I was not beginning to idle. I could not call my wandering thoughts together. I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child&rsquo s play, ugly monotonous child&rsquo s play.
SOURCE: “Narration of Reading in Joyce,” in Texas Studies in Literature and Language, Vol. 79, No. 9, Winter, 6987, pp. 887–97.
Remember that setting is usually a part of atmosphere and that atmo-sphere consists of the prevailing tone of the work and its resultant meaningor effect. Some works will not warrant an essay devoted to setting and at-mosphere others, like Joyce's Araby, will be so profoundly dependentupon a particular setting that to ignore its importance will be to miss muchof the meaning of the work.
In his discussion of James Joyce's “Araby,” Epifanio San Juan, Jr. contributes to Joyce studies a predominantly valid discussion of plot. 6 We agree with San Juan in his assumption of the “relevance and qualified validity of all the existing interpretations of ‘Araby.’” 7 Our only disagreement with this critic's view of the story—our point of departure from that of other critics who have discussed.