Araby by James Joyce Essay

  • Length: 3 pages
  • Subject: Literature
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #19290136

Excerpt from Essay :

Importance of the setting in understanding the story

A successful story needs to have several components linked together in order to help the reader build up the story in their minds. The setting of a story is one of the powerful elements that are often used as a link of symbolism between the character and his life. It sets the mood for the story as well as depicts the mental state of the character's mind in consonance with the theme of the story. Araby is based on the oppression people are facing in the name of religion which causes them to have a very false perspective of reality.

Description of the setting

Araby is set in Dublin, Ireland and the story locale is a North Richmond Street that is depicted as 'blind' and quiet. The word blind is chosen to imply 'without a vision' or 'a dead end.' The house of the narrator is described as 'enclosed' and 'musty;' however the narrator in his youth was unaware of the staleness that surrounds him. All of his attention was fixed on Mangan's sister whose presence helped him escape the deadness that was surrounding him. The blindness also portrays the emotional and mental status of the narrator, and religion also plays an important role here. The street is also described as filled with religious people; the description of the boy's home and the street gives the reader a feeling of age old past and a present that smells of the dead.

The narrator mentions the boy's house where a priest had died in the drawing room indicating that religion constraints the freedom of the worshippers and is an obstacle for sexuality for the people. This is the first important connection between the plot and the setting which depicts the despair, confusion and sadness of the boy. Joyce draws comparisons between the soul of the boy and the empty house. Even though the satisfaction of the boy with his life has been confirmed in the explanation of the playful activities and the chaotic garden, all of this changes with the mention of Mangan's sister. The reader now gets to find the boy's willingness to sacrifice his previous relations and step in to a life that is completely new and of a different way. However, the emptiness of the house 'at the blind end, detached from all neighbors' is the indication of the not so promising aspirations of the boy.

Relation between setting and story

The story and setting are closely linked together in Araby. The busy street, the open door of Mangan's house, the alleyway, the way to school, the room where the priest died are all parts of the locations that shape up the consciousness and the life of the narrator. Before going to the bazar, the thoughts of the boy are more exotic because of the mysterious location which increases his unfulfilled love for Mangan's sister. His holy and biblical description of the girl and the setting enhance his attraction for her which leads him to mature from boy to man. Mangan's sister becomes a ray of light and a faith to hold on to for his new life. The end however tells the reader about the closing down of the place that symbolizes the unfulfilled hopes of the narrator and the confusion in his life.

Relation between setting and character

The narrator continues with the different aspects of the setting even towards the end of the story. The bazaar, set in a big building, contains lots of redundant merchandise put up for sale, and depicts the confusion of the boy. As such the bazaar offers little chance of getting what he seeks. The final epiphany of the boy is seen when the empty market is invaded with darkness and the lights are turned off. This turning off of the lights, along with the emptiness in the boy's head symbolizes the loss of any hope that the boy had of getting his new life by way of his object of desire. The reader is led to presume that visiting the Araby, will be a place that he…

Cite This Essay:

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