Jeong Hyun Lee
Analysis of “Araby”
In “Araby,” James Joyce writes about one boy who has illusions of love for one girl. An unnamed young boy who lives with his uncle and aunt becomes infatuated with Mangan’s sister who is his friend’s sister and thinks about her all the time. One day, when Mangan’s sister tells the boy that she wants to go to the Araby bazaar even though she cannot go, the boy promises to bring her back something if he is able to go in order to impress her. After the boy tells his uncle that he wants to go to the bazaar, his uncle forgets it, so the boy goes to the bazaar alone at night. However, almost all stores are closed, and the young boy suddenly realizes he foolishly allows himself to be motivated by vanity, and this epiphany fills him with anguish and anger. The author’s central idea is that when excessive illusions of love are broken, it can destroy one’s happiness and self-esteem.
In this story, the protagonist, the young boy is a flat character, and he is a dynamic character. The boy is a flat character because there is no specific personality for the boy in this story. Most of the story is about the boy’s illusions of love for Mangan’s sister. In addition to being a flat character, the boy is also a dynamic character. The boy undergoes a change over the course of the story. At the beginning of the story, the boy becomes infatuated with Mangan’s sister because the author writes, “when she came out on the doorstep, my heart leaped,” which shows the boy’s love for Mangan’s sister. Moreover, the author writes, “at night in my bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the page I strove to read,” which shows that the boy thinks about Mangan’s sister all the time. However, at the end of the story, the boy goes through a psychological change. For instance, the author says, “I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity,” which shows that after illusions are broken, the boy suddenly realizes he is a creature driven and derided by vanity, and this epiphany fills him with anguish and anger. Clearly, the boy is a flat and dynamic character, and his character represents the central idea that when excessive illusions of love are broken, it can destroy one’s happiness and self-esteem.
The conflict in this story is an internal conflict of character versus self. The first conflict occurs when the boy falls in love with Mangan’s sister. From that time, the boy has fantasies in his isolation in the ecstasy. The second conflict occur when the boy and Mangan’s sister talk about the Araby bazaar. After they talked about the bazaar, the boy becomes infatuated with Mangan’s sister and he begins to think only about her. The climax occurs when the boy goes to the bazaar, and the lady there disregards him and continued conversing with other guys. In one sense, the conflict is resolved because illusions of love for Mangan’s sister are broken, and his love ends with him realiz...