A Psychological Story about a Boy Whose Character Makes Huge Changes
Irish novelist, James Joyce, wrote a psychological story about a young boy whose round character makes vast changes. “Araby” is told in first person participant and as a result, the audience can realize that the narrator of the story is a young boy who is in love with his friend’s sister. However, the young boy soon discovers that a romantic future with the girl is only an illusion due to her social class. Although the boy’s age is unknown, Joyce is able to let the audience understand the boy’s internal conflict. Nevertheless, to further understand why the character of the young boy is dynamic and why he changed his feelings, individuals should look further into the factors that play role. For instance, it is evident the narrator’s environment, actions, and thoughts/feelings reflect his social status. One of the primary factors that reflects the social status of the young boy is his environment. In the first paragraph he describes the street as “quiet” and “blind” and the houses as having “grown sombre” and having “dark muddy lanes”.
Also, the narrator mentions that the person who had previously owned his house was a priest who had passed away in it. The way the narrator describes his environment helps set the mood as gloomy and reflects the boy’s emotional state. By describing the dreary environment in vivid details, the narrator utilizes it as symbolism to demonstrate how unhappy he was with his life. This helps the audience come to the conclusion that the young boy sees many things in gray except for his friend’s sister, who is from a wealthier class. In addition to how the environment reflects the young boy’s character, the audience is able to acknowledge that his actions play a role as well.
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Although he does not speak to the girl, the narrator is romantic by how he describes her when he watches her on his building’s railways. However, when the narrator was given the chance to speak to the girl he did not know how to react and had promised to buy her a present from a bazaar he did not know was overpriced. By the young boy describing his awkward responses to the discussion, the audience realizes that the young boy has had no experience in this type of interaction. While at the bazaar, the narrator is able to fully realize how he was economically disadvantaged compared to the girl when he was looking at “porcelain vases” and “flowered tea-sets at a stall”.
This causes him to view himself as “a creature driven and derided by vanity” and describe his trip as “useless”. Clearly, readers will realize the thought/feelings of the young boy give a glimpse on how he is from the lower class and how his feelings for Mangan’s sister complicates the situation. The girl is considered a symbol because the narrator wants an abundant life like her. He perceives her as a form of happiness because of her wealth and desires to have a lifestyle like hers. This causes him to go great lengths for the girl by going to the fancy bazaar to buy her a gift.
Consequently, the story began with the boy trying to be mature and being inspired by his desire to speak to his friend’s sister and buy her present. However, towards the end of the story, the narrator goes through a psychological change and his feelings for the girl and the bazaar vanish. He soon finds himself back in his dreary surroundings, loses hope for any romantic feelings, and becomes aware of his social status. James Joyce is able to play on the theme of disillusionment and write a story about a young boy’s experience involving romantic longings and desires. However, readers are able to see how the boy’s immaturity led him to face his dark surroundings. They are able to conclude that the young boy went great lengths for a girl but was not able to make it work in his favor. In addition, the audience is able to realize that the young boy’s environments, actions, and thoughts/feelings encapsulated his social status as well.