James Joyce's "Araby".

Essay by zetapsi69University, Bachelor'sA+, December 2003

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James Joyce's "Araby"

The narrator in "Araby" believes himself to be an individual in the midst of a sea of chaos and commotion. He is not necessarily a prominent individual in society, but rather one who becomes "jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses of labourers, the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by the barrels of pigs' cheeks, the nasal chanting of street singers" (Joyce 854) as he helps his aunt carry parcels home from the market. The boy is but one amongst the numerous others in the crowd who are simply going about their own business, carrying out their affairs in concurrence with the other colorful individuals.

When considering the girl whom the narrator has a crush on, he nearly considers himself to be her servant, or at least someone who is willing to do anything for this girl's attention and affection. He says this plainly in the following lines: "I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes.

Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand" (Joyce 854).

By using language that is reflective of what the boy has [probably] read from the copies of The Devout Communicant and The Memoirs of Vidocq left behind by the priest (as well as other readings typically written for adults), it is almost as though he believes himself to be a combination of a priest and a romantic novelist. He holds Mangan's sister as sacred, nearly as sacred as the Virgin Mary herself, stating, "Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood...