Themes in James Joyce's Araby Essay

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In the story of, "Araby" James Joyce concentrated on three main themes that will explain the purpose of the narrative. The story unfolded on North Richmond Street, which is a street composed of two rows of houses, in a desolated neighborhood. Despite the dreary surroundings of "dark muddy lanes" and "ash pits" the boy tried to find evidence of love and beauty in his surroundings. Throughout the story, the boy went through a variety of changes that will pose as different themes of the story including alienation, transformation, and the meaning of religion (Borey).

The narrator alienated himself from friends and family which caused loneliness and despair, being one of the first themes of the story. He developed a crush on Mangan's
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Two men were flirting with a women and counting money which in turn ruined his thought of "Eastern enchantment." After seeing the women shamelessly flirt with the men, he realized that he allowed his feelings for Mangan's sister to get carried away with. He was angry at himself for acting like a fool. "Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger." (Joyce 392). The last line says a lot about the story and the complexity of his feelings. However, the fact that he realized he was acting foolishly, showed that he was maturing from an innocent young child, into a man( "Sample Essays Analyzing James Joyce's Short Story-Araby").

The last theme of the story and probably the most important is God and religion. To better understand the complexity of the story you have to know the historical content of Dublin at the time the narrative was written. During the 1900's Ireland was under British control and Ireland's main religion was Roman Catholicism. Most families sent their children to schools that where taught by Jesuit priests and convent schools run by nuns. Ireland also had a lot of poverty in it and because there weren't any TV's or radios for entertainment, so they relied on folklore and storytelling to pass the time . As you can see, it's clear why such a big event like "Araby" held great expectations(
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