James Joyce's Araby - The Lonely Quest in Araby Essay

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The Lonely Quest in "Araby"

Universality of experience makes James Joyce's "Araby" interesting, readers respond instinctively to an experience that could have been their own. It is part of the instinctual nature of man to long for what he feels is the lost spirituality of his world. In all ages man has believed that it is possible to search for and find a talisman, which, if brought back, will return this lost spirituality. The development of theme in "Araby" resembles the myth of the quest for a holy talisman.

In "Araby," Joyce works from a "visionary mode of artistic creation"-a phrase used by psychiatrist Carl Jung to describe the, “visionary" kind of literary creation that derives its material from “the hinterland
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This diversity of background materials intensifies the universality of the experience. We can turn to the language and the images of the story to see how the boy's world is shown in terms of these diverse backgrounds.

There is little that is "light" in the comer of Dublin that forms the world of the story, little that retains its capability to evoke spirituality. North Richmond Street is "blind"; the houses stare at one an-other with "brown imperturbable faces." The time is winter, with its short days and its early dusk. Only the boy and his laughing, shouting companions "glow"; they are still too young to have succumbed to the spiritual decay of the adult inhabitants of Dublin. But the boys must play in "dark muddy lanes," in "dark dripping gardens," near" dark odorous stables" and "ashpits." Joyce had said of Dubliners, the collection of stories from which "Araby" comes, that he intended to "write a chapter in the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis." 3 The images of the story show us that the spiritual environment of the boy is paralyzed; it is musty, dark.

Everywhere in his dark surroundings the boy seeks the "light." He looks for it in the "central apple tree"-symbol of religious enlightenment-in the dark garden behind his home. The gardenshould be like Eden, but the tree is overshadowed by the desolationof the garden, and thus has become the tree of spiritual death. Helooks
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