Critiquing James Joyce's "Araby"

Essay by KANYEWEST October 2004

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As I read "Araby" by James Joyce, the shadows encompassing the boy's life crept up on me. The story is viewed through the eyes of an adult male who is reflecting on his childhood memories of the young inexperienced adolescent he once was. The almost lifeless appearance of the surroundings, in which the story takes place, creates a suppression of the soul. His outlook is very dismal, except for the luminous potential of a first romance. However, the lack of knowledge about his situation with his friend's sister, and the lack of adult guidance in the matters concerning love, leads him down a path of disappointment and anger.

To get an idea where the boy's disappointment and anger are coming from, look at the circumstances, which have created his basic knowledge of life. It seems he has no guidance from adults when it comes to the facts of life, because his uncle and aunt do not seem to enforce the basics of the guardian teaching the young.

This passage: "My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom.," shows his tender age that has not allowed him to have the life experience needed to deal with the many questions welling up in his mind and the feelings, welling up in his body. If the feeling he has for his friend's sister is factored in, this young man's grasp on life's meaning is severely weakened. And because of this once again the felling of anger and hurt pour through his body.

In his own glorification of what he expects the bazaar to be like, the boy sets himself up for even more anguish. When he finally enters the "magical"...