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Interpretive Questions for Araby by James Joyce Essay

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Araby – Interpretive Questions 1. Joyce is not subtle in describing the setting as desolate and the adults as cold. There is a lifelessness that surrounds the boy: “musty…. waste littered… somber houses… cold…. … silent street… dark muddy lanes.” Adults are ghosts: “the boys are surrounded by “shades of people” whose houses “gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.” Joyce evokes an image of the Irish soul as cold and the street as uninhabited and detached, with the houses personified and more alive than its residents. 2. One allusion is the reference to “Araby” suggests a romanticism and world (Arabia) remote from the immediate situation. This mysterious and exotic world contrasts with the mundane…show more content…
There is little that is “light” or beauty in the setting of the story. The street is “blind.” The boy and his laughing companions “glow,” they play in “dark muddy lanes,” in “dark dripping gardens,” and “dark odorous stables.” Even the street lamps lift a “feeble” light to the sky. Mengan’s sister is always surrounded by light. The boy sees her beauty as she is half-illuminated: the light only hits “the curve of her neck” and “one-side” of her dress. At the center of the story the boy says, “I was thankful that I could see so little.” When the boy arrives at Araby, “it was now completely dark,” but the story ends with an image of his eyes seeing. 6. Joyce foreshadows the boys revelation when he communicates the confused turbulence of the boy’s feelings when he “left the house in bad humour.” Up to this point in the story he has externalized his turmoil and at this point he first speaks of “I” to express his anguish. We sense from the repetition of “I” in the next paragraph that a realization is coming. When his train rides ends with him seeing the “lighted dial”, the coming realization is further supported. The boy arrives late because his uncle neglects to come home on time to give him money for the train. He is indifferent to the boy’s anguish. The boy has arrived too late to do any serious shopping for the
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