Araby by James Joyce Essay

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“Araby” by James Joyce

There seems to be a great deal of controversy surrounding the short story, “Araby” by James Joyce. This isn’t controversy dealing with various political issues or controversy involving issues of free speech or anything related to these things. It is of a more simple matter: whether the young boy in this story is capable of having a deep emotional realization at the conclusion of the story. It is obvious to me via the final sentence, (Araby, 398), that he does not make a startling realization, rather, the narrator, as the boy many years later, looks back on how foolish he was. During most of the story, the boy comes off as extremely immature. So much so that it would be difficult for such a person to
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An example of such language lies after Mangan’s sister asks him if he is going to the bazaar: “I wished to annihilate the tedious intervening days” (Araby 396). Clearly that is not the vocabulary of an adolescent boy. I feel that if it was narrated by a young child he might have said something as simple as ‘I can’t wait’; straight and to the point, just like a child. The controversy that I referred to in my opening is centered on the last sentence. “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger” (Araby, 398). Some people feel that this young boy actually is capable of moving “From Innocence To Insight” (Ratinov, 403). This seems inconceivable, especially with what I have already pointed out about his immaturity. This boy would have had to suddenly rise to the maturity level of a middle-aged man in about 10 seconds to achieve the ‘emotional epiphany’ that some claim he has experienced. Having weighed the language usage, the maturity level (or lack thereof), and my own knowledge about the way young children think, I have decided that the boy realized nothing about his true feelings the end of the story. This is not to say that looking back on his life, the narrator couldn’t have accomplished this evaluation of his childhood, and by telling this story,

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