Araby is one of fifteen short stories that together make up James Joyce’s collection, Dubliners. Araby mainly tells about a boy who secretly loves a neighboring girl, Mangan’s sister. This simple and pure love can be revealed through his action, his self-narration and his mentality, which can be best revealed in such sentences as “Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlour watching her door. ”, “Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance.
, and “My eyes were often full of tears and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. ”, etc. From the language style of the novel, we could identify a figure of an adult narrator: a grown-up in recalling his youth. Although it described the love of a little boy, it was apparently not in the children’s writing style or tone to narrate. The story is set in North Richmond Street in Dublin, which is “being blind”.
The use of ‘blind’ sets the basic tone for the whole environment in which the boy lives, as seen in such words as “musty”, “the dark muddy lanes” and “the dark dripping gardens”. In the story, the boy’s complicated inner world during his frustrated quest for beauty is vividly described from the first person’s point of view. In the novel, the boy lives with his uncle and aunt, instead of his parents, which implies he may be isolated and ignored sometimes and lacks proper relations between parents and children.
We could also notice the boy’s desire for love and care.
We could also find many symbolisms in this story. For example, Mangan’s sister, for whom the boy has tender feelings, symbolizes hope, and she is symbolically confined “have a retreat in her convent”. And the journey to the bazaar is a quest for the fulfillment of the aspiration, but the journey is “intolerable” delayed, and when the boy gets to the bazaar, half of it is already dark. What’s more, the young lady at the door of a stall is “not encouraging”, and speaks to the boy “out of the sense of duty”. When the upper part of the hall is completely dark, the boy’s disillusionment is announced.