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Araby And James Joyce

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The short story “Araby” is clearly identifiable as the work of James Joyce. His vocalized ambition of acquainting fellow Irish natives with the true temperament of his homeland is apparent throughout the story. Joyce’s painstakingly precise writing style can be observed throughout “Araby” as well. Roman Catholicism, which played a heavy role in Joyce’s life, also does so in the story which is another aspect which makes Joyce’s authorship of the story unmistakable. As a result of Irish heritage displayed in “Araby” along with evidence of Joyce’s unmistakable writing style throughout and the role of Catholicism in the story, “Araby” is instantly recognizable as the work of James Joyce.

In his writing of Dubliners as a whole James Joyce hoped to familiarize fellow Irish natives with Ireland’s true nature. In his article “James Joyce” Paul Gray quotes Joyce as having said, “One of the things I could never get used to in my youth was the difference I found between life and literature,” so one of his ambitions was to erase this contrast (Gray 1). One of Joyce’s attempts at fulfilling this goal can be observed at the melancholy ending of “Araby” where after his fruitlessly covetous quest for вЂ?Mangan’s sister’ the narrator laments, “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity,” (Joyce 886). In a similar context as that of Gray’s article Joyce is quoted in a book, James Joyce Remembered, by C.P. Curran who was an acquaintance of Joyce’s, specifically about the purpose of his collection of stories Dubliners, of which “Araby” is a part, as saying, “I call the series Dubliners to betray the soul of that hemiplegia or paralysis which many consider a city,” (9). In John Diconsiglio’s article “Call it James Joyce’s Revenge” Joyce is quoted on the purpose of Dubliners yet again in the third paragraph which states, “Joyce wrote that it was written so that the Irish could have вЂ?one good look at themselves in my nicely polished looking glass,” (3). Since he was repetitively quoted concerning such, Joyce made the goal of his story “Araby” known as propagating his perspective of the true nature of Ireland.

Several aspects of Joyce’s meticulous writing style can be observed in his story “Araby.” In his book Exploring James Joyce Joseph Prescott draws attention to, “Joyce’s use of words in such a sense or context as to throw upon them a stronger light than they ordinarily enjoy,” (8). Evidence of this supposition lies at the end of the fifth paragraph of “Araby” in the form of the metaphor, “But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires,” (Joyce 884). In consideration of such peculiarity the following relation from Robert Kaplan’s article “Madness and James Joyce” is more understandable, “There is a telling anecdote from Frank Budgen, his friend and biographer. Joyce said he had been working hard all day вЂ" writing two sentences. вЂ?You were seeking the right words?’ asked Budgen. вЂ?No,’ replied Joyce, вЂ?I have the words already. What I am seeking is the perfect order in the sentence,” (37). In addition to Joyce’s precision with his placement of words, his connotation often seems either supplemental or ironic. As Peter de Voogd mentions in his article “Imagine, Eveline, Visualised Focalisations in James Joyce’s Dubliners” “Imaging the text of Dubliners also includes the way in which the shape of a thing or name mentioned may add to or contradict its meaning,” (9). An example of this lies in the ninth paragraph of “Araby” where the following statement can be found, “I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly, monotonous child’s play,” (Joyce 884). These examples show how “Araby” contains Joyce’s specifically meticulous writing style.

Another aspect of the style in which James Joyce writes which can be observed in “Araby” through the role of Catholicism in such is his tendency to write from his own life experiences. As Brian Phillips writes in his article “Joyce’s Visions” “Joyce was a relentlessly autobiographical writer,” (5). Ruth von Phul comments similarly in A James Joyce Miscellany, “It is hardly possible to overestimate the autobiographical element in Joyce’s work,” (Magalaner 119). In his article “James Joyce” Paul Gray relates not only how Joyce’s entire education came from the Jesuits, who form a sect of Catholicism, but also how piously devoted his mother was to the Roman Catholic faith (2). With regard to the


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