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Araby Analysis

  • Date Submitted: 10/20/2010 05:42 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 68.2 
  • Words: 827
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James Joyce wrote “Araby” in 1905 and it was published in Joyce’s famous book Dubliners in 1914.   This short story is set in lower middle-class Dublin, Ireland during the very late 1800’s.   A nameless young man narrates the short story of his first love and how his vision of romance collapsed.   This essay’s purpose is to analyze the short story “Araby” to find evidence of characteristics of romance in the story and to show the young man’s evolution from innocently playing with his friends and reading books to practically stalking his friend Mangan’s sister.  
According to Love in the Western World by Denis De Roungemont, there are many different characteristics of romantic love.   The five characteristics discussed in this essay are the dumb hero, the magnificent lady, the grueling quest, the infertile wasteland and the Holy Grail.   This could be translated into a dumb boy going on a difficult quest, across a wasteland to find the Holy Grail for his lady.   The enemies of romantic love are time and money and these enemies are both mentioned in this story as the young man falls in love, just to fall right back out of it.      
In every romantic tale, there must be a young hero who is slightly idiotic, or he wouldn’t be going on a quest for the lady.   In “Araby” the hero is the narrator, because he is willing to travel across the “wasteland” into the exotic new land for his lady.   The young man becomes the hero after he is influenced by the romantic novels he discovered in his house: The Abbott, The Devout Communicant and The Memoirs of Vidocq.   The young man’s focus was drawn to Mangan’s sister as she was illuminated like a goddess out of the shadow he was standing in. It says on page 40 of The Portable James Joyce (1976. New York: Penguin Books.) , “Her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side.”   The moment the young man sees her, he is caught in lust, which he mistakes for love at first sight.  
After a long...


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