James Joyce's Dubliners is a collection of short stories that offers a brief, but intimate window into the lives of a variety of characters, many of whom have nothing in common beyond the fact that they live in Dublin. Men and women of all ages, occupations and social classes are represented in this collection. The stories in Dubliners are often about the ways in which these individuals attempt to escape from the numbness and inertia that their lives yield, and the moments of painful self-realization that follow these attempts. "Araby", "The Dead" and "A Little Cloud", stories included in Dubliners best portray the idea of the endeavours one must go on to find themselves.
During the time Dubliners was written, Ireland was in deep political turmoil following the death of Charles Parnell, the Nationalist leader who had rallied much of the county in support of Irish independence. Joyce subsequently incorporates the feelings of exhaustion, emptiness and numbness into his characters as a result of this political upheaval.
"Araby", "The Dead" and "A Little Cloud" are remarkable not only for their reaction of Dublin in the early Twentieth century, but also for their brilliant understanding of human character in its moment of revelation.
"Araby" chronicles a young boy's disclosure from the moment he experiences an intense emotional and physical attraction toward a girl, for the very first time. The boy, whom remains nameless throughout the story, feels passionately drawn to his friend Mangan's sister. One day, she asks him if he is going to Araby, a local bazaar. Unable to attend, Mangan's sister urges the boy to go. Hypnotized by her presence, the boy promises that if he goes he will bring something back for her. After a sleepless night, the boy dwells on his feelings for...