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The Short Story “Araby” by James Joyce Essay

At the beginning of the short story “Araby,” by James Joyce, we are brought back to a time when the author was just a young boy living on the described to be boring and dead North Richmond Street in Dublin, Ireland. In this town, the kids would find entertainment in the use of their imagination that insisted on playing outside “till their bodies glowed.” (Pg. 1173) Even though their play brought them to remove all cares in reality and view the world in a magical way, they also were curious about the adult world. Described by James, as kids they would spy on the narrator’s uncle as he returned home from work, and most importantly Mangan’s sister fascinated them when “her dress swung as she moved her body” (Pg. 1174) and “the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side.” (Pg. 1174) These boys now had thoughts of mystery about the opposite sex and were awed. They wanted to gain more knowledge about her, especially James.

When Mangan’s sister finally speaks to James, he gets nervous and excited, presses the palms of his hands together and releases “O love! O love!” (Pg. 1174) and “When she addressed the first words to me I was so confused that I did not know what to answer. She asked me if I was going to Araby. I forget whether I answered yes or no.” (Pg. 1174) I don’t think she will even remember the conversation the next day, but to him her talk about the Araby gives him the urge to go check it out and bring her back a gift that will endear him to her.

At Araby, James runs into two young men and a woman engaged in conversation resembling flirting. I think this is when it dawns on him that he has been vain and obsessive towards the girl; just a young boy living a foolish fantasy that Mangan’s sister would fall in love with him. Even if he had brought her home a present she would not have fallen in love with him. Even a really nice present wouldn’t have convinced her to have a relationship with him. This “epiphany” makes him feel angry and humiliated. These actions performed by him show us how young he truly is, and he is too hard on himself like young people usually are. By writing this story the narrator tells us about his remembering of his youth by the beginning of his rushing hormones.


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