Paralysis and the Need for Escape
James Joyce's Dubliners is a fearlessly candid portrayal of his native city, providing his readers a glimpse of a "dear dirty Dublin", and to his countrymen "one good look at themselves". Joyce's collection of stories, virtually chronicling the stages of maturation within a human life, depicts the Dubliners as powerless individuals who often contemplate escape, but are chained to a paralyzed Dublin. Through "Araby", "Eveline", and "The Boarding House" and the individual psychological, spiritual, and moral paralyses their characters face, we find that it is society and its social mores which imprison and mold the Dubliners into what they should be. As the 'chronological-periods-of-human-life' structure of Joyce's collection and reoccurring paralysis pattern suggests, this societal paralysis transcends and encompasses all, deeming escape unlikely.
Joyce's "Araby" is one of his initial short stories within the progression of Dubliners, and logically begins with a younger protagonist. The nameless young narrator is filled with romantic aspirations for a girl he meets, destined to woo her with some splendorous gift from the upcoming bazaar Araby....
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