Araby by James Joyce Sept. 13, 2016
Born from Darkness
The impact of the North Richmond Street setting was very deliberate. It opens and closes in dark settings. Araby is a first person narrative. This short story opens up as a quiet street that has very little human interaction. The skies above have grown violet with the dusk and the start of winter and the days are growing shorter. The continued darkness of North Richmond St replays the view of the boys dreams and the failure that follows. It is always about darkness and frustration.
The house in which the â€˜narratorâ€™ lives was once occupied by a priest. The priest died in the back drawing room. 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 dark muddy ...view middle of the document...
The boy feels disgust for his simple life and he is bored with the lack of excitement on North Richmond St. The boy is somewhat introverted fumbling toward adulthood with little in the way of guidance from his family or community. Joyce uses negativity to represent this. Joyce writes, â€œThe other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable facesâ€ (90). It seems that the boy is in constant darkness. He lives in the dark, he plays in the dark and he hides in the dark; all on North Richmond St. He offers a main character who educes sympathy because of his sensitivity and loneliness and this is once again shown through the darkness.
The darkness of the streets and his home is what kindles the epiphany. He wants to travel out of the darkness of North Richmond St. to the brightness and clarity that he foresees when he travels to Araby. This adventure about going to Araby excites him. This undertaking is about a gift for Manganâ€™s sister and he wants to keep the promise that he made to her. The boy must wait for his uncle to return Saturday night so that he might collect some money from him to take the train to the bazaar.
The bazaar however is closed when the boy reaches his destination. He is once again frustrated with his situation. He feels defeated. The boy should not have left home. The boy would learn that one way or another, he realizes that he will always find his way back home. The darkness followed the boy wherever he went. It was the darkness that the boy saw his tragedy. The Araby bazaar closes as the streets and the halls go dark.
So both the opening and the ending of Araby share darkness. You live in darkness and despair and even with the hopes of the climax at the bazaar which also ends in the dark. It mingles with the familiarity of everyday drudgery, with frustrating consequences.
Abcarian, Richard, Marvin Klotz, and Samuel Cohen. Literature The Human Experience. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2015. Print.
Joyce, James. Araby. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2015. Print.