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An epiphany is when a character or the protagonist experiences a sudden or conspicuous realization in a certain type of moment. James Joyce uses these evident moments in Dubliners to be examined and analyzed meticulously by his readers.
In Araby by James Joyce, the protagonist is analyzed through a series of distinctive elements. Joyce makes the story Araby centered on an epiphany, and through the fraudulent feelings and disappointment, it results in disillusionment and realization. The story first begins by labeling North Richmond Street, the street in which the boy lives on, as a blind and quiet environment.
The word blind specifically stands out because it means without a vision or at a dead end, just like the young boy. The young boys house is also explained in great detail as a dark, musty, and enclosed area which gives readers a sense of gloom and an uncomforting scenery to think about. We compare the neighborhood where he lives and the house to the boy’s lifestyle and mentality as we further continue the story, as it is seen as bland and lifeless.
“She was waiting for us, her figure defined by the light from the half-opened door.” (Joyce #) the unnamed narrator states as it paints a picture that the young boy sees his transient crush as this angelic figure in his life. He blinds himself by this bright life in his life and seeks out to impress this girl. The chance he gets to finally talk to Mangan’s sister, she if he is going to the Araby.
After the discussion, he knows that going to the Araby is his only chance to strike her.
The setting of the so called exotic Araby then becomes a major element when discovering the epiphany. When the protagonist arrives, the Araby is dead and lifeless as it is closing time for the bazaar. There is a sense of cold gloom as it states, “Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall was in darkness.” (Joyce #) The boy overhears a stale conversation between a young lady and two young men which becomes the main symbol in this realization. The epiphany that is revealed is that he realizes that Mangan’s sister is just a girl who won’t care about him or the promises he made to himself to buy her something. It’s revealed that it is just small talk and completely meaningless like the flirtatious conversation between the three at the bazaar.
The epiphany appear as the lights are falling to dim, “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.” (Joyce #) The epiphany seen at the Araby signals a change from an innocent, infatuated boy to an adolescent desirable kid dealing with the harsh realities in life. Connecting the settings of the house, the bazaar, and the neighborhood to the boys actions help uncover the epiphany by apprehending that he was so blinded in this vacant and dark head space. The personifications that Joyce uses for the particular parts of the story helped me connect the double meanings in the characterized setting.
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