The boy saw himself as “the creature is driven and derided by vanity.” His innocent imagination has taken him to a world of vanity, a world that exists only in his mind. His viewpoint is minimal; he is ignorant and thus innocent.
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Being secluded, lonely, and imaginative, he does not have the comprehension required to evaluate and create clear perspectives. When he reaches the market place, he realizes that Araby was not what he imagined it to be; he felt aggravated and betrayed by his own thoughts and imagination. The boy went through self-deception; in his mind, he had beautiful and naive dreams of the world that were very different from what is real.
The character of the boy is indirectly revealed in the opening set of the short story. He grew in the back-wash of a fading city. Symbolic images depict him to be a person who is intuitive to the fact that the liveliness of his city has faded and left remains of empty spirituality, the weakest echo of romance, and just symbolic reminiscences of a vigorous concern for people and God (James, 90). Even if the young boy can’t comprehend this rationally, he believes that the street is “dead,” the city and Ireland have become dull, self-satisfied, dark, and cold. It is a world of “spiritual stagnation,” which symbolizes how the boy’s perspective is limited; he is uninformed and thus innocent.
As one reads the story, it is evident that the boy was infatuated with the love he had for a girl. His thoughts and imaginations are naïve and narrow-minded. He should wake-up from the reality that surrounds him. The street of North Richmond is symbolically described to provide the reader with the world in which the young boy lives. His world is full of dreams and naïve imaginations. The author states that the street is “blind” and that it is a “dead end.” However, the residents are smugly satisfied; the houses depict their attitudes. The “houses are “imperturbable” in the “quiet,” the “cold,” the “dark muddy lanes,” and “dark dripping gardens” (Joyce,10). This symbolizes the boy’s world and how blind he is to the reality of the world.
People living in the street, that is, the boy’s uncle and aunt, are at ease and are not threatened by the surroundings; they are, however, falsely religious and inconspicuously but too self-satisfied. The boy experiences spiritual paralysis and stagnation. He does not understand much about the world he lives in; he is caught up in his imaginations and his obsession. For instance, when he believed he loved a girl, he did everything he could for the girl to love him back; he was infatuated with this love and his thought of being in love (Micheal, 74). He has blinded hopes, romantic ideas, and dreams. Love fantasies, sexual desires blind him to the extent that he thinks he lives in a perfect world.
Lonely, isolated, and imaginative, he does not have the understanding needed for evaluating situations and perceiving the world differently. He is as blind as the world he lives in; however, he rejects the stagnation of spirituality. Even though the reader knows that the narrator is a young boy, the author brings in a grown man who recalls how naïve he was and how his innocent and beautiful imaginations are different from the real world he lives in.
He reflects the obsession he had for a girl and how he was sure that he loved her. He was disappointed to know that love did not exist, and it was just an obsession. When he gets to the bazaar, everything seemed very different from what he imagined: the abrupt realization of the difference between a young dream of the mystical beauty of the world and his real-world caught up with him. This dream was of self-deception and vanity: from a different perspective, the narrator is seen to be a grown man looking back on his naivety and innocence (Charles, 77).
The boy tries to ignore the cruel and dirty realism of life; this contrasts with the boy’s dreams. The final frustration of the boy takes place as a result of his awakening to his actual life. The gaudy superficiality of the marketplace, which in his imagination had been an “Oriental enchantment,” takes away his blindness, leaving him lonely with the understanding that love and life are different from dreams. Araby, the metaphorical love temple, is blasphemous. The marketplace is murky and empty; it flourishes on the same yield motive as the bazaar (“two men were counting money on a salver“).
Love is depicted as an empty, temporary flirtation. “Araby” is a short story of innocent love; all the more, it is a representation of a world that challenges the dream. Therefore, the story setting turns out to be the true subject, symbolizing a feeling of spiritual paralysis where the young boy’s naive dreams do not match unrealistic dreams (Sylvan, 87). The young boy gets to realize that his actual world is very different from his naïve dreams and imaginations: he sees himself as “the creature is driven and derided by vanity.”
Barnet, Sylvan. A short guide to writing about literature. Pearson/Longman: USA, 2005. Print.
Bengal, Micheal. Joyce and the city: the significance of the place. Syracuse University Press: New York, 2002.Print.
Joyce, James. Araby: a short story. Simmons College Print Shop: USA, 1952.Print.
Neider, Charles. Great Short Stories of the Masters. Cooper Square Press: Chicago, 2003. Print.