Joyce And Poe: A Literary Analysis Essays Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Literature, Love, Araby, Protagonist, Ulysses, James Joyce, Life, Edgar Allan Poe

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/09

In a genre as vast as fiction and poetry, you can’t come across two authors less alike than James Joyce and Edgar Allan Poe. James Joyce was a more modern writer who has featured his hometown of Dublin in many of his writings. Edgar Allan Poe was a genre writer from the United States. Many of his stories and poems are tales of horror and fantasy. However, as different as these two authors are, the works referenced in this paper share the same theme of love. Love is the common ground that can bridge the gap between any author and genre. The purpose of this paper is to show that authors of different backgrounds and literary styles can convey the same message of love.
James Joyce is an author from Ireland whose works are primarily short fiction. His 1914 work Dubliners, features a short story entitled “Araby”. In this story, the protagonist is a young boy who makes it his mission to get the girl of dreams a gift from the town fair. James Joyce’s writings come from a different era than Poe’s. When Dubliners was published there happened to be a period of social change for Ireland, which may have had a hand in the way Joyce wrote. His tales are more modern, and feature more truth than fantasy. Joyce had the tendency to write his characters in a way that was very similar to real life, real people and real places. Ireland, where Joyce is from, is featured in many of his stories and shows the people as they really are. The protagonist in his story is not only a pseudo stalker but also filled with teenage angst and attitudes that is similar to teenagers today.
In Edgar Allan Poe’s stories there is a distinct darkness to it that can be likened to Goth. Also, Poe was an author that came from the Victorian period of writing. His poems and stories tended to come from a darker place. His tales are more of the fantasy-horror type. Although Edgar Allan Poe’s “Anabel Lee” also features the theme of love, one can tell that this poem is more romantic in nature than “Araby.” They were more classical in nature. Romance in Poe’s hand was a romance that seemed to come from the soul rather than the head. The protagonist and his love share what seems to be an all-consuming passion. Her life made even the angels in heaven jealous “with a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven / Coveted her and me” (Poe 1849/2009).
In “Araby” it is important to note that the story or rather the author uses personification to breathe life into inanimate objects. For instance the street on which the protagonist lives is “blind” and the other houses on the street are “conscious of decent lives within them” and “gazed at one another” (Joyce 1914/2009). Although, Poe had the tendency to do the same in some of his short stories, he does not do so in “Annabel Lee”. As mentioned earlier, both the short story and the poem feature the same themes of love. Another similarity to note is that both stories end unhappily. “Araby” is more about unrequited love. We find that the protagonist has fallen in love with a girl that he is desperate to impress. He watches her and follows her, but never speaks to her “her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood” (Joyce 1914/2009). His love for this girl is all consuming, but in his desire to impress her, it goes unrequited. When he finds that he cannot impress his love, he gives up on it instead. In “Anabel Lee” however, the protagonist’s love is returned. This love is destined to end in doom because the girl is too perfect to stay on earth. Both stories end unhappily because in “Araby” the boy never finds the object that will enable him to approach and confess his love to the girl he desires. In “Anabel Lee” the protagonists love dies tragically. Heaven was so jealous of her that the angels come to steal her away.
Earlier it was noted that Joyce uses personification in his story “Araby”. Another literary device to note that is used in “Annabel Lee”, but that is not used in “Araby” is alliteration. This literary device is most noted in line 9 where Poe says “But we loved with a love that was more than love” (Poe 1894/2009). Both Joyce and Poe’s use of imagery is also a similarity that can be noted. From the houses that stare at one another to the trembling hands of Joyce’s love bitten protagonist to Poe’s jealous seraphs and “demons under the sea” (cite), one gets a clear picture of what the authors are trying to convey in each work. Aside from the authors, the major differences in each work lay in the form and in the telling. James Joyce’s work is a short story, there is no rhyming, no rhythm and no metering involved. Whereas Poe’s work involves all of those elements being that it is a poem.
Being that both James Joyce and Edgar Allan Poe come from different literary backgrounds and write in different genres, one would think that neither author shares any common ground. However, when it comes to one particular theme it can be noted that both men can bridge the literary divide with even meaning to. Poe with his classical romantic imagery conveys the image of a man in love whose love ends tragically. Joyce with his more modern take on his fictional characters conveys the same theme with a love that ends unrequited.


Joyce, James. (1914). “Araby.” Gardner, J., Lawn, B., Ridl, J., & Schakel, P. (2009).
Literature: A portable anthology. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
Poe, Edgar Allan. (1894). “Annabel Lee.” Gardner, J., Lawn, B., Ridl, J., & Schakel, P.
(2009). Literature: A portable anthology. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.

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Joyce And Poe: A Literary Analysis Essays Examples. Free Essay Examples - Published Feb 09, 2021. Accessed October 03, 2022.

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