Themes of Alienation and Control in James Joyce's Araby Essay examples

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Alienation of “Araby”

Although “Araby” is a fairly short story, author James Joyce does a remarkable job of discussing some very deep issues within it. On the surface it appears to be a story of a boy's trip to the market to get a gift for the girl he has a crush on. Yet deeper down it is about a lonely boy who makes a pilgrimage to an eastern-styled bazaar in hopes that it will somehow alleviate his miserable life. James Joyce’s uses the boy in “Araby” to expose a story of isolation and lack of control. These themes of alienation and control are ultimately linked because it will be seen that the source of the boy's emotional distance is his lack of control over his life. The story begins as the boy describes his
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But the boys must play in “dark muddy lanes,” in “dark dripping gardens,” near “dark odorous stables” and “ash pits” (Sample Essays). The boy cannot expect to have any control over the seasons or weather. Nevertheless, this bitterness contributes to his feeling of vulnerability. One of the more dehumanizing aspects of the story is that nowhere does anyone ever refer to the boy by name. He is always referred to as you or boy. This could be attributed to the fact that, on the whole, there is relatively little dialogue, and the story is rather short. However, the boy is also the narrator of the story and could have easily introduced himself. After all, in the first paragraph he introduces his setting, it would not have been unreasonable for him to have mentioned his name. It seems likely then that the boy's name was omitted deliberately. By depriving the boy of a name, he is denied any sense of identity, consequently alienating him even further. The plot of the story is based around the boy attempting to go to the bazaar, Araby so that he may return with a gift that will please Mangan's sister. While in some ways Mangan's sister offers the boy some hope, she is also a major source of the his alienation. He desperately lusts for her attention and affection. His recount of his mourning ritual: “When she came out on the doorstep my heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. I kept her brown

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