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A&P and Araby


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A&P and Araby

John Updike's A & P and James Joyce's Araby share many of the same literary traits. The primary focus of the two stories revolves around a young man who is compelled to decipher the different between cruel reality and the fantasies of romance that play in his head. That the man does, indeed, discover the difference is what sets him off into emotional collapse. One of the main similarities between the two stories is the fact that the main character, who is also the protagonist, has built up incredible,yet unrealistic, expectations of women, having focused upon one in particular towards which he places all his unrequited affection. The expectation these men hold when finally "face to face with their object of worship" (Wells, 1993, p. 127) is what sends the final and crushing blow of reality: The rejection they suffer is far too great for them to bear. Updike is famous for taking other author's works and twisting them so that they reflect a more contemporary flavor. While the story remains the same, the climate is singular only to Updike. This is the reason why there are similarities as well as deviations from Joyce's original piece. Plot, theme and detail are three of the most resembling aspects of the two stories over all other literary components; characteristic of both writers' works, each rendition offers its own unique perspective upon the young man's romantic infatuation. Not only are descriptive phrases shared by both stories, but parallels occur with each ending, as well (Doloff 113). What is even more telling of Updike's imitation of Joyce's Araby is the fact that the A & P title is hauntingly close in pronunciation to the original story's title. The theme of A & P and Araby are so close to each other that the subtle differences might be somewhat imperceptible to the untrained eye. Both stories delve into the unstable psyche of a young man who is faced with one of life's most difficult lessons: that things are not always as they appear to be. Telling the tale as a way of looking back on his life, the protagonist allows the reader to follow his life's lessons as they are learned, imparting upon the audience all the emotional pain and suffering endured for each one. The primary focal point is the young man's love for a completely unattainable girl who unknowingly riles the man into such a sexual and emotional frenzy that he begins to confuse "sexual impulses for those of honor and chivalry" (Wells, 1993, p. 127). It is this very situation of self-deception upon which both stories concentrate that brings the young man to his emotional knees as he is forced to "compensate for the emptiness and longing in the young boy's life" (Norris 309). As much as Updike's rendition is different from Joyce's original work, the two pieces are as closely related as any literary writings can be. Specifically addressing details, it can be argued that Updike missed no opportunity to fashion A & P as much after Araby as possible. For example, one aspect of womanhood that fascinates and intrigues both young men is the whiteness of the girls' skin. This explicit detail is not to be taken lightly in either piece, for the implication is integral to the other important story elements, particularly as they deal with female obsession. Focusing upon the milky softness and "the white curve of her neck"(Joyce 32) demonstrates the overwhelming interest Joyce's protagonist place in the more subtle features; as well, Updike's character is equally as enthralled by the sensuality of his lady's "long white prima-donna legs" (A & P 188). One considerable difference between Updike's A & P and Joyce's Araby is the gap between the young men's ages, with Updike's embarking upon his twenties while Joyce's is of a significantly more tender age. This divergence presents itself as one of the most instrumentally unique aspects separating the two stories, as it establishes a considerable variance between the age groups. The reader is more readily able to accept the fact that the younger man has not yet gained the ability to ascertain the complex differences between love's reality; on the other hand, it is not as easy to apply this same understanding to Updike's older character, who should by all rights be significantly more familiar with the ways of the world by that age. "The lesson that romance and morality are antithetical, whether learned from haunting celibates or breathed in with the chastising Dublin air, has not been lost on the narrator" (Coulthard 97). What does not escape either story, however, is the manner in which the young men are transformed into "distracted, agitated, disoriented" (Wells, 1993, p. 127) versions of their former selves once they have become focused upon their respective objects of affection. Both have lost sight of what is important within their lives, "with the serious work of life" (Joyce 32), to see what havoc their passion is wreaking. It is not important that everyone around them notices the way they have withdrawn from reality; rather, they have both come under a spell of infatuation that pays no mind to anything but their fixations (Wells, 1993). Despite their best efforts, neither young man ultimately wins the heart -- or the attention -- of his respective love interest, which Updike's character asserts to be "the sad part of the story" (192). Their gallant rescue attempts aside, the two men are faced with the grim and shattering reality that the girls have no desire for their company. This particular attention to plot is critical within the two stories, because it demonstrates how despair can be both disheartening and uplifting at the same time. Updike's character has found himself holding a dollar bill that he obtained from his lady love, to which he inwardly acknowledges "it just having come from between the two smoothest scoops of vanilla I had ever known" (193-94). The gifts each young man offered his love interest are not well received; in fact, it is at this very moment in each story that the reader feels the depths of each character's despair. While different in origination, the intent was the same, since both young men come from such diverse backgrounds; where Joyce's Irish boy offers a material gesture, Updike's American character offers himself as a shield against any further antagonizing his lady has endured. This clearly demonstrates the variance in both materialistic values and the concepts of what is important to each young man. To one, offering something tangible is far more worthwhile than anything else he could present; to the other, however, extending his manliness far better suits his attempts to win the girl's heart. "The story's closing moral turns on itself by concluding with a parabolic maneuver, by having the narrative consciousness turn itself into an allegorical figure" (Norris 309). No matter their efforts, both young men fail miserably in their attempts to woo their respective ladies. The similarities between the two stories with regard to the manner in which each is conveyed to the reader speak of life's lessons and the sometimes painful road one is required to take in order to gain such experience. With images of chivalry and romance notwithstanding, both Updike's A & P and Joyce's Araby set forth to impart the many trials and tribulations associated with love. "Expressions of emotions and thoughts also show parallels, including the ending self-revelation and climax" (Doloff 255).

From the moment the girls walk into the A&P, they attract the gaze of every man in the store, which demonstrates the power their sexuality gives them over the opposite sex. Although they make a point of acting nonchalant (Queenie more successfully than the other two), the girls are well aware of the eyes tracking their every move. As long as the girls do not acknowledge the men’s interest, they are in a position of power—inspiring desire but not subject to it. Their strategy works well, and the A&P’s male employees—even the unyielding Lengel—show some degree of sexual interest. However, Lengel ultimately undermines this strategy and tries to lessen their power. By confronting the girls so bluntly, Lengel calls the girls on their behavior, embarrassing them by suggesting that they are well aware of the inappropriateness of their attire. Queenie’s claim—“We are decent”—is an attempt to reestablish their superior position, implying that it is Lengel who is being inappropriate.

The girls have a profound transformative effect on the men in the A&P, especially Sammy. They inspire the men to act piggishly, as they stare at the girls while making lewd comments to one another. For these men, their response seems rooted in hormones, and Lengel’s attempt to get the girls to respect social norms is an effort both to control the desire of such young men and to protect the girls from it. In Sammy, however, the girls inspire a more profound reaction. Under the influence of his desire for Queenie, Sammy’s imagination is awakened, and he takes a dramatic step to change his life. Sammy’s actions are not purely motivated by his desire, but they are inseparable from it.

The content consists of brief but condensations of the action of the story. The content tells your reader what happens. Remember that you cannot relate all the action. Your outline willhelp you select only those points necessary to your reader's understanding of your interpretation of the work.
Study the summary essay below to discover its organization. Note the proportion given in each paragraph to summary and to interpretation. Theintroduction identifies the work and the author. Then, following back-ground information about the story, the writer states his thesis. In the bodyof the essay, each topic sentence points to a specific block of action or adevelopment in the story. The content of each paragraph is devoted to asummary of a selected block of action, and the last sentence of each para-graph evaluates and interprets the action described. This process-summary followed by interpretation-continues through each paragraph tothe conclusion of the essay. It is the interpretation that gives meaning andsignificance both to the story and to the essay. In the essay that follows, note the use of quotations and how each aids understanding and imparts asense of the style and manner of the work.
James Joyce's "Araby": Summary of an Epiphany
Each of the fifteen stories in James Joyce's Dubliners presents a flat, rather spatial portrait. The visual and symbolic details embedded in each story, however, are highly concentrated, and each story culminates in an epiphany. In Joyce an terms, an epiphany is a moment when the essence of a character is revealed, when all the forces that bear on his life converge, and we can, in that instant, understand him. Each story in the collection is centered in an epiphany, and each story is concerned with some failure or deception, which results in realization and disillusionment. "Araby" follows this pattern. The meaning is revealed in a young boy's psychic journey from first love to despair and disappointment, and the theme is found in the boy’s discovery of the discrepancy between the real and the ideal in life.
The story opens with a description of North Richmond Street, a “blind," "cold ... .. Silent street where the houses gazed at one an-other with brown imperturbable faces." It is a street of fixed, decaying conformity and false piety. The boy's house contains the same sense of a dead present and a lost past. The former tenant, a priest, died in the back room of the house, and his legacy-several old yellowed books, which the boy enjoys leafing through because they are old, and a bicycle pump rusting in the back yard-become symbols of the intellectual and religious vitality of the past. The boy, in the midst of such decay and spiritual paralysis, experiences the confused idealism and dreams of first love and his awakening becomes incompatible with and in ironic contrast to the staid world about him.
Every morning before school the boy lies on the floor in the front parlor peeking out through a crack in the blind of the door, watching and waiting for the girl next door to emerge from her house and walk to school. He is shy and still boyish. He follows her, walks silently past, not daring to speak, overcome with a confused sense of sensual desire and religious adoration. In his mind she is both a saint to be worshipped and a woman to be desired. His eyes are "often full of tears," and one evening he goes to the back room where the priest had died. Clasping the palms of his hands together, he murmurs, "0love! 0 love!" it in a prayer not to God, but to the concept of love and perhaps even to the girl, his love. Walking with his aunt to shop on Saturday evenings he imagines that the girl's image accompanies him, and that he protects her in "places the most hostile to romance." In the mixed symbolism of the Christian and the Romantic or Oriental myths Joyce reveals the epiphany in the story: "These noises con-verged in a single sensation of life for me: I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes." He is unable to talk to the girl. Drifting away from his schoolmates' boyish games, the boy has fantasies in his isolation, in the ecstasy and pain of first love.
Finally the girl speaks to the boy. She asks him if he is going to Araby. He replies that if he does he will bring her a gift, and from that moment, his thoughts upon the mixed imagery of the saintly light upon her hair and the potential sensuality of "the white border of a petticoat," the boy cannot sleep or study. The word Araby "cast an Eastern enchantment" over him, and then on the night he is to go to the bazaar his uncle neglects to return home. Both the aunt and uncle understand the boy’s need and anguish, and thus his isolation is deepened. We begin to see that the story is not so much a story of love as it is a rendition of the world in which the boy lives.
The second part of the story depicts the boy's inevitable disappointment and realization. In such an atmosphere of "blindness"-the aunt and uncle unaware of the boy's anguish, the girl not conscious of the boy's love, and the boy himself blind to the true nature of his love-the words "hostile to romance" take on ironic overtones. These overtones deepen when the boy arrives too late at the bazaar. It is closing and the hall is "in darkness." He recognizes "a silence like that which pervades a church after a service" but the bazaar is dirty and disappointing. Two men are "counting money on a salver” and he listens "to the fall of the coins." A young lady, bored with him and interested in two men who are flirting with her, cheapens and destroys the boy's sense of an "Eastern enchantment." His love, like his quest for a gift to draw the girl to him in an unfriendly world, ends with his realizing that his love existed only in his mind. Thus the theme of the story-the discrepancy between the real and the ideal-is made final in the bazaar, a place of tawdry make-believe. The epiphany in which the boy lives a dream in spite of the ugly and the worldly is brought to its inevitable conclusion: the single sensation of life disintegrates. The boy senses the falsity of his dreams and his eyes burn "with anguish and anger."
Essay #2 Using Setting and Atmosphere
Remember that setting is usually a part of atmosphere and that atmosphere consists of the prevailing tone of the work and its resultant meaning or effect. Some works will not warrant an essay devoted to setting and atmosphere; others, like Joyce's "Araby," will be so profoundly dependent upon a particular setting that to ignore its importance will be to miss much of the meaning of the work.
Dream versus Reality: Setting and Atmosphere in James Joyce's "Araby"
Convinced that the Dublin of the 1900's was a center of spiritual paralysis, James Joyce loosely but thematically tied together histories in Dubliners by means of their common setting. Each of the stories consists of a portrait in which Dublin contributes in some way to the dehumanizing experience of modem life. The boy in the story "Araby" is intensely subject to the city's dark, hopeless conformity, and his tragic yearning toward the exotic in the face of drab, ugly reality forms the center of the story.
On its simplest level, "Araby" is a story about a boy's first love. On a deeper level, however, it is a story about the world in which he lives-a world inimical to ideals and dreams. This deeper level is introduced and developed in several scenes: the opening description of the boy's street, his house, his relationship to his aunt and uncle, the information about the priest and his belongings, the boy's two trips-his walks through Dublin shopping and his subsequent ride to Araby.
North Richmond Street is described metaphorically and presents the reader with his first view of the boy's world. The street is "blind"; it is a dead end, yet its inhabitants are smugly complacent; the houses reflect the attitudes of their inhabitants. The houses are "imperturbable" in the "quiet," the "cold," the "dark muddy lanes" and "dark dripping gardens." The first use of situational irony is introduced here, because anyone who is aware, who is not spiritually blinded or asleep, would feel oppressed and endangered by North Richmond Street. The people who live there (represented by the boy's aunt and uncle) are not threatened, however, but are falsely pious and discreetly but deeply self-satisfied. Their prejudice is dramatized by the aunt’s hopes that Araby, the bazaar the boy wants to visit, is not14some Freemason affair," and by old Mrs. Mercer's gossiping over tea while collecting stamps for "some pious purpose."
The background or world of blindness extends from a general view of the street and its inhabitants to the boy's personal relation-ships. It is not a generation gap but a’ gap in the spirit, in empathy and conscious caring, that results in the uncle's failure to arrive home in time for the boy to go to the bazaar while it is still open. The uncle has no doubt been to the local pub, negligent and indifferent to the boy's anguish and impatience. The boy waits well into the evening in the "imperturbable" house with its musty smell and old, useless objects that fill the rooms. The house, like the aunt and uncle, and like the entire neighborhood, reflects people who are well-intentioned but narrow in their views and blind to higher values (even the street lamps lift a "feeble" light to the sky). The total effect of such setting is an atmosphere permeated with stagnation and isolation.
The second use of symbolic description that the dead priest and his belongings suggests remnants of a more vital past. The bicycle pump rusting in the rain in the back yard and the old yellowed books in the back room indicate that the priest once actively engaged in real service to God and man, and further, from the titles of the books, that he was a person given to both piety and flights of imagination. But the priest is dead; his pump rusts; his books yellow. The effect is to deepen, through a sense of a dead past, the spiritual and intellectual stagnation of the present. Into this atmosphere of spiritual paralysis the boy bears, with blind hopes and romantic dreams, his encounter with first love. In the face of ugly, drab reality-"amid the curses of laborers," "jostled by drunken men and bargaining women"-he carries his aunt's parcels as she shops in the market place, imagining that he bears, not parcels, but a "chalice through a throng of foes." The "noises converged in a single sensation of life" and in a blending of Romantic and Christian symbols he transforms in his mind a perfectly ordinary girl into an enchanted princess: untouchable, promising, saintly. Setting in this scene depicts the harsh, dirty reality of life which the boy blindly ignores. The contrast between the real and the boy's dreams is ironically drawn and clearly foreshadows the boy's inability to keep the dream, to remain blind.
The boy's final disappointment occurs as a result of his awakening to the world around him. The tawdry superficiality of the bazaar, which in his mind had been an "Oriental enchantment," strips away his blindness and leaves him alone with the realization that life and love differ from the dream. Araby, the symbolic temple of love, is profane. The bazaar is dark and empty; it thrives on the same profit motive as the market place ("two men were counting money on a salver"); love is represented as an empty, passing flirtation.
"Araby" is a story of first love; even more, it is a portrait of a world that defies the ideal and the dream. Thus setting in this story becomes the true subject, embodying an atmosphere of spiritual paralysis against which a young boy's idealistic dreams are no match. Realizing this, the boy takes his first step into adulthood.
INSTRUCTIONS. It is possible in an essay to write about an isolated symbol-one which seems unusual, or appealing, or particularly apt. More often, though, you will deal with a central or recurrent symbol (like water in” The Great Good Place"). If you write about an isolated symbol, your thesis should be a strong statement of the existence of the symbol in the work, and, the body of your essay should be composed of statements that actually constitute evidence of the existence of the symbol. As you develop paragraphs in the body of the essay, make clear your reasons for ascribing the symbolic significance you do, show the function of the symbol in the work, and above all, prove that awareness of the symbol enriches understanding or appreciation of the work.

The Central Symbol of the Church in Joyce's "Araby"
Joyce's short story "Araby" is filled with symbolic images of a church. It opens and closes with strong symbols, and in the body of the story, the images are shaped by the young), Irish narrator's impressions of the effect the Church of Ireland has upon the people of Ire-land. The boy is fiercely determined to invest in someone within this Church the holiness he feels should be the natural state of all within it, but a succession of experiences forces him to see that his determination is in vain. At the climax of the story, when he realizes that his dreams of holiness and love are inconsistent with the actual world, his anger and anguish are directed, not toward the Church, but to-ward himself as "a creature driven by vanity." In addition to the images in the story that are symbolic of the Church and its effect upon the people who belong to it, there are descriptive words and phrases that add to this representational meaning.
The story opens with a description of the Dublin neighborhood where the boy lives. Strikingly suggestive of a church, the image shows the ineffectuality of the Church as a vital force in the lives of the inhabitants of the neighborhood-the faithful within the Church. North Richmond Street is composed of two rows of houses with” brown imperturbable faces" (the pews) leading down to the tall "un-inhabited house" (the empty altar). The boy's own home is set in a garden the natural state of which would be like Paradise, since it contains a "central apple tree"; however, those who should have cared for it have allowed it to become desolate, and the central tree stands alone amid "a few straggling bushes." At dusk when the boy and his companions play in the street the lamps of the street lift their "feeble lanterns" to the sky of "ever-changing violet" (timid suppliants to the far-away heavens). Since the boy is the narrator, the inclusion of these symbolic images in the description of the setting shows that the boy is sensitive to the lack of spiritual beauty in his surroundings. Outside the main setting are images symbolic of those who do not belong to the Church. The boy and his companions go there at times, behind their houses, along the "dark muddy lanes," to where the "rough tribes" (the infidel) dwell. Here odors arise from "the ash pits"--those images symbolic to James Joyce of the moral decay of his nation.
Even the house in which the youthful main character lives adds to the sense of moral decay. The former tenant, a priest (now dead),is shown to have been insensitive to the spiritual needs of his people. His legacy was a collection of books that showed his confusion of the sacred with the secular-and there is evidence that he devoted his life to gathering "money" and "furniture." He left behind no evidence of a life of spiritual influence.
Despite these discouraging surroundings, the boy is determined to find some evidence of the loveliness his idealistic dreams tell him should exist within the Church. His first love becomes the focal point of this determination. In the person of Mangan's sister, obviously somewhat older than the boy and his companions, his longings find an object of worship. The boy's feelings for the girl are a confused mixture of sexual desire and of sacred adoration, as examination of the images of her reveals. He is obsessed at one and the same time with watching her physical attractions (her white neck, her soft hair, the movement of the brown-clad figure) and with seeing her always surrounded by light, as if by a halo. He imagines that he can carry her” image" as a "chalice" through a "throng of foes"-the cursing, brawling infidels at the market to which he goes with his aunt. All other sensations of life "fade from his consciousness" and he is aware only of his adoration of the blessed "image." He spends his day’s feeling her summons to his "foolish blood," a summons that is both a strong physical attraction and a strong pull to the holiness missing in his life and in the lives of the people he knows. In all his watching other he is "thankful that he can see so little," as men of his Church have ever been filled with holy dread to look upon the Virgin.
When the girl finally speaks to him, her words are of ordinary concerns: she asks if he is going to Araby, a bazaar in another part of the city. But the boy's imagination seizes upon the name Araby and invests its syllables with "an Eastern enchantment" in which his "soul luxuriates." Araby becomes a place where his soul can find the mystical beauty lacking in his own mundane Church. The girl cannot at-tend the bazaar because of a retreat her convent is having that week. As a consequence the boy feels a summons that has symbolic over-tones of a holy crusade: he is determined to go forth to the "en-chanted" place and bring back a gift worthy to lay at the feet of his adored one.
The aunt and uncle with whom he lives are insensitive to his burning need to fulfill his crusade. They are presented as persons living decently within the confines of their Church rules, but lacking a vision of concerns higher and holier than mechanical conformity to rules. They do, finally, though, provide the florin to allow him to go to Araby. Alone, he makes his way to the place of Eastern enchantment. When he arrives, he is struck by a "silence like that of a church.” This is followed by another image that calls up the image at the be-ginning of the story, that of the aisle leading to an altar. In this case, it is a hall leading to the booth displaying porcelain vases (chalices for the Eucharist), and flowered tea sets (the flowers on the altar).The great jars guarding the stall can be interpreted as symbols of the mysticism standing guard over the Church.
For the boy, the girl attending the stall, like Mangan's sister, be-comes an object of faith. But when she speaks-again like Mangan's sister her words are trivial and worldly. In a sudden flash of in sight the boy sees that his faith and his passion have been blind. He sees in the "two men counting money on a salver" a symbol of the moneylenders in the temple. He allows the pennies to fall in his pocket. The lights in the hall go out; his "church" is in darkness. Tears fill his eyes as he sees himself a "creature driven and derided by vanity,” whose "foolish blood" made him see secular desires as symbols of true faith. In this moment of disillusionment he feels that he himself is at fault for being so bemused by his ideals that he failed completely to see the world as it is. He has discovered in his Church and in love(both traditional symbols of ineffably sacred loveliness) only a shoddy imitation of true beauty. Understandably his disillusionment causes him "anguish and anger."
Using Myth and Archetype

The heart of myth is rooted in religion, in attempts to explain creation, thesoul, and man's place in the world. A discussion of myth, therefore, mustbe preceded by your discovery of its presence in a work; and for your dis-cussion to be meaningful, you must understand the origin or source of theideas you decide to ascribe to myth. (In "Araby," we perceive the clearpresence of a reference to Christianity.)
Remember that archetype can be generously applied to a num-ber of man's values, dreams, and beliefs, but that myth comprises only apart of archetype. Archetype is a much larger term, and if you perceivesome universal experience in a literary work, it can quite logically form apart of our racial past. Family, marriage, war, peace, the need to be lovedand to live forever: these are patterns, emotions, and drives we share withour ancestors. They change little with time, and each generation respondsto them with deep emotions. The presence of archetype in a work givesthat work added importance and an essay defining the archetype, its effectand resultant added meaning will be of value to readers who may have re-sponded but have not discerned why.
To write an essay using myth and archetype, determine how theirpresence influences and reveals the meaning of the work. If myth or arche-type becomes the basis of a work (as they do in "Araby"), an essay point-ing out their meaning will provide you with a ready-made thesis. Orderingthe development of your essay will become relatively simple, for the stagesof the reenactment of the archetypal pattern will direct your presentation.If, on the other hand, the use of myth does not form the basis of the entirework, but is only an enrichment of another pattern, your order of develop-ment will be somewhat more complex. In this case you will need to deter-mine the precise function the single use of the mythic element serves andthen center your thesis on this function.
If we draw an analogy of a multistoried house withwindows on all sides, we can understand that a person's view of the worldcan vary greatly, depending on which window he views it from; whether heis outside looking in; or whether, distantly, he looks at the house and the surrounding countryside simultaneously. Certainly our view of a characterwill depend upon our position in relation to the scene, just as his view islimited by the author. Henry James considered the positioning of both characters and narrator crucial to fiction, and in recent years (in fact since his detailed studiesof point of view) critics have considered the artist's use of point of view the central focus for interpretation. Look at the questions point of view provokes. Does the viewpoint allow for irony? Does it limit sympathy or does it evoke greater sympathy? Does it causeattitudes to be formed? What are they? Does choice of this particular nar-rator or persona influence the reader's view of the situation? How? Does itcontrol imagery and symbolism?
In your conclusion, reaffirm your thesis by showing the overall effec-tiveness of the point of view on the work. Did the work gain much or littlefrom its use? Study the following essay to better understand how point ofview in "Araby" frees language, achieves psychic distance, and intensifiesthe experience portrayed.
Although James Joyce's story "Araby" is told from the first per-son viewpoint of its young protagonist, we do not receive the impres-sion that a boy tells the story. Instead, the narrator seems to be a manmatured well beyond the experience of the story. The mature man re-minisces about his youthful hopes, desires, and frustrations. Morethan if a boy's mind had reconstructed the events of the story for us,this particular way of telling the story enables us to perceive clearlythe torment youth experiences when ideals, concerning both sacredand earthly love, are destroyed by a suddenly unclouded view of theactual world. Because the man, rather than the boy, recounts the experi-ence, an ironic view can be presented of the institutions and personssurrounding the boy. This ironic view would be impossible for theimmature, emotionally involved mind of the boy himself. Only an adult looking back at the high hopes of "foolish blood" and its resul-tant destruction could account for the ironic viewpoint. Throughoutthe story, however, the narrator consistently maintains a full sensitiv-ity to his youthful anguish. From first to last we sense the reality tohim of his earlier idealistic dream of beauty.
The opening paragraph, setting the scene, prepares us for theview we receive of the conflict between the loveliness of the ideal andthe drabness of the actual. Descriptive words show the narrator's con-sciousness of the boy's response to beauty and the response of theneighborhood people, who are blind to beauty: North RichmondStreet is "blind"; its houses, inhabited by "decent" people, stare un-seeingly at one another-and all this is under a sky of "ever-changingviolet," in a setting of gardens marred by the "odours of ash-pits"and "dark odorous stables." The boy's own house, which had form-erly been inhabited by a priest, is placed in a garden like that ofEden. It is a place of potential holiness, shown to us in the irony ofthe garden's barrenness and the priest's worldliness: the garden hasnow only a "central apple tree" and a "few straggling bushes"; thepriest had died and left behind him evidence of his preoccupationwith secular literature and with collecting money and furniture.
Into this setting appears a figure representative of all that isideal, the girl. The narrator shows us in a subtly ironic manner thatin his youthful adoration of Mangan's sister she is, confusedly, theembodiment of all his boyish dreams of the beauty of physical desireand, at the same time, the embodiment of his adoration of all that isholy. In his dark environment Mangan's sister stands out, a figure al-ways shown outlined by light, with the power to set aflame in him azeal to conquer the uncaring and the unholy. Her image, constantlywith him, makes him feel as though he bears a holy "chalice" througha "throng of foes"-the Saturday evening throng of drunken men,bargaining women, cursing laborers, and all the others who have noconception of the mystical beauty his young mind has created in thisworld of material ugliness.
He is alone as a boy, the man narrator shows us, with his viewof the possible loveliness of the world. Even the aunt and uncle withwhom he lives are callous to his burning need to go to the bazaar,which looms in his imagination as a place of mystical Eastern en-chantment, to purchase a gift worthy of his loved one. Looking back,the narrator can see that his uncle had been concerned with his daily,worldly tasks, his aunt with maintaining a "decent" observance of"this day of our Lord," although she does not want him to be disap-pointed in his wish to go to the bazaar. From the vantage point ofmaturity the narrator can realize that the aunt and the uncle perhaps once possessed an awareness of the romantic, an awareness that hassince been clouded by the drabness of North Richmond Street.
Like Stephen Dedalus of Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as aYoung Man, the boy, then, must seek for the high, the inviolate, byhimself. And, also like Stephen, he finds instead the world. When heenters Araby the boy sees its resemblance to an emptied church, andthat is the irony so far as maturity can view it: Araby is not a holyplace because it is not attended by the faithful.
He has come alone on a deserted train; the bazaar, full of spu-rious wares, is tended by uncaring people who leave him even morealone than he had been before; the young lady who should havewaited on him ignores him to joke with two young men. The younglady's inane remarks to the young men have a ring in the memory ofthe mature narrator reminiscent of his adored one's remarks. Both areconcerned with the material, the crass.
The narrator can, with his backward look, supply us with twoapprehensions: one, the fully remembered, and thus fully felt, anguishof a too sudden realization of the disparity between a youthful dreamof the mystic beauty of the world and his actual world; and two, theirony implicit in a view that can see the dream itself as a "vanity."

In his brief but complex story, "Araby," James Joyce concen-trates on character rather than on plot to reveal the ironies inherentin self-deception. On one level "Araby" is a story of initiation, of aboy's quest for the ideal. The quest ends in failure but results in aninner awareness and a first step into manhood. On another level thestory consists of a grown man's remembered experience, for the storyis told in retrospect by a man who looks back to a particular momentof intense meaning and insight. As such, the boy's experience is notrestricted to youth's encounter with first love. Rather, it is a portrayalof a continuing problem all through life: the incompatibility of theideal, of the dream as one wishes it to be, with the bleakness of real-ity. This double focus-the boy who first experiences, and the manwho has not forgotten-provides for the dramatic rendering of astory of first love told by a narrator who, with his wider, adult vision,can employ the sophisticated use of irony and symbolic imagery nec-essary to reveal the story's meaning.
The boy's character is indirectly suggested in the opening scenesof the story. He has grown up in the backwash of a dying city. Sym-bolic images show him to be an individual who is sensitive to the factthat his city's vitality has ebbed and left a residue of empty piety, thefaintest echoes of romance, and only symbolic memories of an activeconcern for God and fellow men. Although the young boy cannot ap-prehend it intellectually, he feels that the street, the town, and Irelanditself have become ingrown, self-satisfied, and unimaginative. It is a world of spiritual stagnation, and as a result, the boy's outlook is se-verely limited. He is ignorant and therefore innocent. Lonely, imagin-ative, and isolated, he lacks the understanding necessary for evalua-tion and perspective. He is at first as blind as his world, but Joyceprepares us for his eventual perceptive awakening by tempering hisblindness with an unconscious rejection of the spiritual stagnation ofhis world.
The boy's manner of thought is also made clear in the openingscenes. Religion controls the lives of the inhabitants of North Richmond Street, but it is a dying religion and receives only lip service.The boy, however, entering the new experience of first love, finds hisvocabulary within the experiences of his religious training and the ro-mantic novels he has read. The result is an idealistic and confused in-terpretation of love based on quasireligious terms and the imagery ofromance. This convergence of two great myths, the Christian with itssymbols of hope and sacrifice and the Oriental or romantic with itsfragile symbols of heroism and escape, merge to form in his mind anillusory world of mystical and ideal beauty. This convergence, whichcreates an epiphany for the boy as he accompanies his aunt throughthe market place, lets us experience with sudden illumination the tex-ture and content of his mind. We see the futility and stubbornness ofhis quest. But despite all the evidence of the dead house on a deadstreet in a dying city the boy determines to bear his "chalice safelythrough a throng of foes." He is blindly interpreting the world in theimages of his dreams: shop boys selling pigs' cheeks cry out in "shrilllitanies"; Mangan's sister is saintly; her name evokes in him "strangeprayers and praises." The boy is extraordinarily lovesick, and fromhis innocent idealism and stubbornness, we realized that he cannotkeep the dream. He must wake to the demands of the world aroundhim and react. Thus the first half of the story foreshadows (as the manlater realizes) the boy's awakening and disillusionment.
The account of the boy's futile quest emphasizes both his lonelyidealism and his ability to achieve the perspectives he now has. Thequest ends when he arrives at the bazaar and realizes with slow, tor-tured clarity that Araby is not at all what he imagined. It is tawdryand dark and thrives on the profit motive and the eternal lure itsname evokes in men. The boy realizes that he has placed all his loveand hope in a world that does not exist except in his imagination. Hefeels angry and betrayed and realizes his self-deception. He feels he is"a creature driven and derided by vanity" and the vanity is his own.
The man, remembering this startling experience from his boy-hood, recalls the moment he realized that living the dream was lost asa possibility. That sense of loss is intensified, for its dimension growsas we realize that the desire to, live the dream will continue throughadulthood.
At no other point in the story is characterization as brilliant asat the end. Joyce draws his protagonist with strokes designed to let usrecognize in "the creature driven and derided by vanity" both a boywho is initiated into knowledge through a loss of innocence and aman who fully realizes the incompatibility between the beautiful andinnocent world of the imagination and the very real world of fact. In"Araby," Joyce uses character to embody the theme of his story.

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