Dubliners

An Examination Between the World of Illusion and Reality in Joyce’s “Araby” College

Irving Howe, a literary and social critic, once noted that “the knowledge that makes us cherish innocence makes innocence unattainable”(Lifehack Quotes). Often depicted in the transition from childhood to adulthood, this loss of innocence is sorrowful yet eminent. A functioning society requires that individuals at some point transition from a world of illusion to a world of reality; a transition that’s catalyst is a loss of innocence. James Joyce, an Irish novelist and poet, highlights this loss of innocence in his short story, “Araby.” In his work, Joyce pits the innocent, childlike nature of his narrator against the strident realities of the world, forcing the narrator to reconcile his perception of reality. By questioning and inverting the practicality of romance and faith, Joyce expedites his narrator’s loss of innocence. Furthermore, Joyce suggests that optimistic ideals are limited to the world of illusion, thwarted in the real world by the selfish, materialistic, and corrupt nature of society.

Through his incorporation of autobiography in “Araby,” Joyce conveys the universal nature of the loss of innocence. For example, both the narrator and Joyce grew up on North Richmond Street and attended the Christian Brother’s...

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