Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Love, Symbolism, Time, Bazaar, Araby, Teenagers, Literature, Symbol

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/09

James Joyce’s “Araby” is a timeless and simple tale of one young boy’s youthful passion. Set in the middle of a country’s economic despair, Joyce appears at times to use love as a device to brighten the otherwise bleak world around his characters. The bleak surroundings are the narrator’s reality but, in fact, Joyce uses intense imagery and symbolism in an effort to camouflage the scenes, perhaps in an effort to display the story’s dominant impression. Though the setting was in turmoil, youths like the narrator were still fighting to find something worth being happy about, like love. Unfortunately, after the story sheds its imagery and symbolism, “Araby” is revealed a story of the impenetrable loneliness of youth, the confusion of young love, and lost dreams.
“Araby” begins with the narrator conveying loneliness; he describes “an uninhabited house” at the blind end of the North Richmond Street, also described as quiet . These descriptions give the feeling of isolation, and set the scene of desperation. When the narrator refers to one end of the street as “blind,” it, it has been suggested by Tao Hong, author of, “On the Symbolic Meaning of “Blindness” in ‘Araby,’” that this theme is recurrent, and is in reference to many things, including the narrator’s realistic concept of love . Essentially, blindness eventually becomes a symbol for the narrator’s inability to see what is really around him, as well as his inability to experience “true love” due to his age and the circumstance his country experiences. He painstakingly describes the dreary brown houses on his street, one of which, he reveals, the previous tenant died in, but somehow allows himself to feel flippantly toward a girl. More importantly, he demands his uncle come home from work, during a time of economic crisis when people are lucky to have jobs, so that he can make it to the local bazaar in order to buy his love a trinket. Hong suggests not only is blindness a symbol of the narrator’s inability to see real love, but also the narrator’s inability to see the real circumstances surrounding he and his family.
Other symbols aside from blindness are used throughout “Araby” to draw a contrast between his romantic ideation and his reality. Time and clocks become symbolic throughout, as they are mentioned numerous times. In fact, the narrator has an intense preoccupation with time and clocks; he is always aware of time, whether it is “early”, late, or he should be anxious about somebody’s arrival . The narrator is aware when his meal goes past its time, the exact moment his uncle comes home (late) the day he is meant to be at the bazaar, and a clock is overtly mentioned as he nears the bazaar ten minutes before closing, with only one vendor left. One might think that time and anxiety were a symbol of his love; the narrator is anxious about getting to the bazaar on time in order to get his new love something grand, ensuring her affections will be returned. Richard J. Gerber acknowledges a young man’s need to buy a young woman a trinket, but suggests the time and clocks may be more of a symbol, again, for the realistic landscape Dublin faced during the time Joyce wrote “Araby.” Moreover, Gerber suggests that the narrator’s preoccupation with time for his own selfish reasons may inhibit his ability to see the reality all around him. This would be easy for readers to believe since it would not be the first time the narrator was blind to something throughout the story.
The bazaar itself becomes an arguable symbol as the narrator becomes set on a quest for the ideal. He begins to see everything around him is drab, and squalid. He describes things as “brown,” repeatedly . He can never seem to make any of his plans work properly. Even when his uncle agrees to come home, allowing the narrator to go to the bazaar, this does not work either. His uncle comes home late, leaving the narrator waiting for his ideal ending: getting a gift for his love. The bazaar becomes the symbol for the ideal to the narrator and he goes, even after the uncle arrives late. With ten minutes to spare, the narrator goes inside only to find most of the vendors have left. One remains with nothing of interest to purchase; the ideology is shattered. Finally, he is forced to realize the romantic archetype he fashioned in his mind does not match the reality of the outside world. Everything is brown, cold, and drab, including the bazaar, and possibly his love.
In sum, Joyce attempts to use sensory symbols to help protect the narrator. In essence, “Araby” appears to be a story about a young man who will do almost anything to avoid admitting that he may end up just like everybody he knows. He remains blind to the economic crisis faced by his neighborhood and family, despite the fact he sees it every day. Moreover, he appears overly aware of how quickly time is slipping away from him, which could be an acute sign of his subconscious awareness that he will one day be in the shoes of his uncle, rather than the anxiety often surrounding young love. Finally, the flashiness of the bazaar is also eventually stripped when the narrator arrives near closing only to find nothing worth buying. He is finally forced to see his romantic ideals do not match the reality surrounding him. While the sensory symbolism allowed the character to hide for most of the story, eventually he was forced to face the dilemma that was real life.

Works Cited

Gerber, Richard J. "Clocks and Time in “Araby”." Joyce Studies Annual (2014): 274-277. Article.
Hong, Tao. "On the Symbolic Meanings of "Blindness" in "Araby"." Journal of Jinhua Polytechnic (2012): 56-60. Article.
Joyce, James. Dubliners. Chicago: Old Castle Publishers, 2005. Book.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 09) Essay On Symbolism In “Araby”. Retrieved February 02, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/essay-on-symbolism-in-araby/
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"Essay On Symbolism In “Araby”." WePapers, Dec 09, 2020. Accessed February 02, 2023. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/essay-on-symbolism-in-araby/
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Essay On Symbolism In “Araby”. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/essay-on-symbolism-in-araby/. Published Dec 09, 2020. Accessed February 02, 2023.

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