A Journey from Innocence: Understanding James Joyce’s "Araby” College

In James Joyce’s “Araby”, readers are taken on a young boy’s quest of discovery. The beginning of the short story paints a picture of Dublin, a place described as rather dark and lonely. This is a ‘coming of age’ tale, peering into the mind of a young boy teetering on the edge of boyhood and adulthood. The main theme of this story shows readers the struggles of a young boy on a journey of discovery of reality versus fantasy, as well as darkness versus light. The story, being mostly pessimistic or indifferent, shows a shift from darkness to light as Mangan’s sister enters and exits the picture. This is a journey of a young boy seeking light, regarding its form, in an otherwise dark existence.

From early on in the story, we see Dublin as a dark and somewhat isolated place. The first line reads, “NORTH RICHMOND STREET, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers’ School set the boys free” (Paragraph 1). The narrator goes on to say, “When short days of winter came dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinners. When we met in the streets the houses had grown sombre … the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns”...

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