James Joyce 's Araby And The Dead

Decent Essays
James Joyce’s short stories “Araby” and “The Dead” both depict self-discovery as being defined by moments of epiphany. Both portray characters who experience similar emotions and who, at the ends of the stories, confront similarly harsh realities of self-discovery. In each of these stories, Joyce builds up to the moment of epiphany through a careful structure of events and emotions that leads both protagonists to a redefining moment of self-discovery.
The main characters in both these stories are young adults who call Dublin, Ireland, home. Gabriel Conroy, the protagonist of “The Dead,” seems to be at the upper end of the middle class, while the nameless boy in “Araby” is at the lower end. We get an idea of each character’s social status in the opening passages of the stories. The boy in “Araby” lives on a street where all the houses, “conscious of the decent lives within them,” have the same “brown imperturbable faces” (182)—a description which conveys a dull, less fortunate scene. The opening paragraphs of “The Dead” portray a different, more cosmopolitan kind of scene. The setting is an evening party, whose hostesses live a “modest” life, yet keep a servant and believe in eating “the best of everything: diamond-bone sirloins, three-shilling tea and the best bottled stout” (198).
Despite their differences in social status, Gabriel and the boy are similar in their emotional makeup. The narrator of “Araby” is a sensitive boy whose romantic notions are easily aroused and
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