Alienation of "Araby" Essay

1884 Words Apr 23rd, 2005 8 Pages
Alienation of "Araby"

Although "Araby" is a fairly short story, author James Joyce does a remarkable job of discussing some very deep issues within it. On the surface it appears to be a story of a boy's trip to the market to get a gift for the girl he has a crush on. Yet deeper down it is about a lonely boy who makes a pilgrimage to an eastern-styled bazaar in hopes that it will somehow alleviate his miserable life. James Joyce's uses the boy in "Araby" to expose a story of isolation and lack of control. These themes of alienation and control are ultimately linked because it will be seen that the source of the boy's emotional distance is his lack of control over his life. The story begins as the boy describes his neighborhood.
…show more content…
"At night in my bedroom and buy day in the classroom, her image came between me and the page I strove to read… I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child's play, ugly monotonous child's play (Norton Anthology 2238)." To make things worse, he can not possibly expect to have any control over the girl's feelings. As it is, he can barely speak to the girl, and when she finally does talk to him he is overcome with confusion. He is so desperate for recognition and care, that when he concludes that Mangan's sister is a potential source, he becomes fixated with her to the point of alienating himself from everything else in his life. Throughout the story virtually all adults ignore the boy. Even his uncle rarely pays any attention to him. And when he does, it seems that it is only to bore him or recite tired sayings like "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." This is an endless source of frustration for the boy because his uncle has the greatest control over his life. Going to the Araby is of supreme importance to the boy, and while he petitions this to his uncle at least four times, each time his uncle forgets. The boy cannot resist feeling helpless; he has put all of his hopes
Open Document