Compares "Araby" by James Joyce, and "My Antonia" by Willa cather

Essay by LeynaLou1University, Bachelor'sA-, November 2002

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Lesson in Adolescence

My Antonia and "Araby", two different stories that have many compelling ties. Araby and My Antonia are connected in that they both deal with relationships and a person's desires. Although they both have strong characters that reveal many human attributes, they both have their differences. In the following, James Joyce's character in "Araby" and Jim Burden in Will Cather's My Antonia will be examined.

To begin, the young boy in "Araby" was on a quest for the ideal love. The quest ends in failure but results in an inner awareness and a first step into manhood. The story consists of a grown man's remembered experience, for a man who looks back to a particular moment of intense meaning and insight tells the story in retrospect. As such, the boy's experience is not restricted to youth's encounter with first love. Rather, it is a description of a continuing problem all through life: the incompatibility of his ideal love, with the bleakness of reality.

This boy who first experiences, and the man who has not forgotten provides for the rendering of a story of first love told by a narrator who, with his wider, adult vision, can reveal the story's meaning. Every morning before school the boy lies on the floor in the front parlor peeking out through a crack in the blind of the door, watching and waiting for the girl next door to emerge from her house and walk to school. He is shy and still boyish. He follows her, walks silently past, not daring to speak, overcome with a confused sense of desire and adoration. In his mind she is both an angel to be worshipped and a woman to be desired. His eyes are often full of tears ( 5). We begin to see that...