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The Portrayal Of The Main Character In Araby

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The Short story “Araby” by James Joyce, are told from the point of view of a young boy. The author James is one of the most famous writers throughout the 1900’s and the end of War II. The boy, whose name was never exposed, lives in North Richmond Street and was described as “being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers’ School set the boys free.” This is when they reveal that the boy lives in in the former home of the priest that has passed away in the back drawing-room. The narrator reveals that he’s in love with Mangan’s sister, which turns out to be his best friend sister. Yet, Joyce, didn’t use any descriptive language the way the boy felt towards Mangan’s sister. The readers were able to understand the boy’s feelings by his act, such as “Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlor watching her door. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen.” Furthermore, he tells of his venture to Araby to get her a gift, since she is unable to attend with him. Throughout the boy’s love, and inspired adventure in the short story “Araby” the boy has attractive characteristics in his personality, such as; alertness, passion, sensitiveness and impatient.

The first attractive trait the boy display is alertness. One of his signs of him being vigilance is when he describes the way the priest used to be, when he lived in the house before him. The narrator describes the priest as “a very charitable priest; in his will he had left all his money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister.” The boy also runs into some paper-covered books the former priest that left in the house. Some of the former belongings he found were “old useless papers and a curled and damp: The Abbot, by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant and The Memoirs of Vidocq. The boy describes the street as “being blind” and from that he is using the impression as he is not happy where he currently lives.

The boy has excellent attentiveness, once he went to the back-drawing room where the priest had died. He notices: “It was a dark rainy evening and there was no sound in the house. Through one of the broken panes I heard the rain impinge upon the earth.” The boy is always noticing the tiniest details and his surroundings throughout the story and his trip to the bazaar.

The young boy displays passion throughout the story. Yet, he’s only passionate for a girl, which turns out to be his friend’s sister. In fact, the boy becomes obsessed with her that he slowly turns out to be somewhat of a stalker: “Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlor watching her door.” The boy is in love with Mangan’s sister, but he barley even knows her. Thus, when he finally has a conversation with her, about going to the bazaar Araby, it caused him to become puzzled.

Although he hasn’t spoken to her, the more he thinks of her the worse he obsession gets: “When she came out on the doorstep my heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her.” The more he thinks of her the harder it is for him to get her out of his mind” “Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance.” He found love at first sight, for example “Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the future. He’s picturing the future with her even though they haven’t had an conversation or been acknowledge.

Another appealing characteristic is that the boy is particularly sensitive. Towards the beginning of the short story, the narrator introduces his admiration for Mangan’s sister with much deeper sentiment than those of most teenage crushes: “Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom.” The boy is stunned by the unfathomable love he feels for Mangan’s sister. The more he sees her the more nervous he gets, for instance: “I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.

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When he first come across with Mangan’s sister, the narrator describes the powerful emotions he experienced during the evening right before the bazaar. “I wished to annihilate the tedious intervening days. I chafed against the work of school. At night in my bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the page I strove to read. The syllables of the word Araby were called to me.” In retrospect, the boy anticipation would end up setting himself up for a superior disappointment, nevertheless it was his sensitive nature that let these emotions consume every moment of his life.

The last appealing characteristic the boy has is impatient. The boy is determined to go to a bazaar, named Araby to bring her a gift. Ms. Mercer made a dinner and still has not showed up. Mrs. Mercer stood up and “was sorry she couldn’t wait any longer, but it was after eight o’clock and she did not like to be out late as the night air was bad for her.” Therefore, that upset the boy and that’s when he “began to walk up and down the room, clenching my fists. My aunt said: ‘I’m afraid you may put off your bazaar for this night of Our Lord.’

The boy’s uncle drinks heavily and was extremely late getting home on the night the boy wanted to go to Araby. He waited an interminable amount of time till the clock hit at nine o’clock his uncle arrived. The boy knew his uncle was drunk since he heard “him talking to himself and heard the hallstand rocking when it had received the weight of his overcoat. I could interpret these signs. When he was midway through his dinner, I asked him to give me the money to go to the bazaar. He had forgotten.” When he asked his uncle for money and pretends, he’s forgotten about his trip, his aunt argues on the boy’s behalf. “Can’t you give him the money and let him go? You’ve kept him late enough as it is.”

The boy’s uncle apologized, and said he’s forgotten but he believed on an old saying: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Which means that it is not good to work all the time, and people may get bored if they don’t get a day off from work. The boy was so impatient since he has promise to bring her a gift. Finally, when he received the money from his uncle, he “left the kitchen he was about to recite the opening lines of the piece to my aunt.”

The delay to Araby and the long ride on the train causes the boy to become aggravated. Once he arrives to the bazaar, he’s fearing that bazaar would be closed: “Nearly all the stalls were closed, and the greater part of the hall was in darkness. I recognized a silence like that which pervades a church after a service.” The more he walked towards the middle of the bazaar he noticed “two young gentlemen, with English accents” and a female engaged in the conversation. She turned to the boy and asked if he would like to buy anything, yet, he turns to her and says: “No, thank you.”

The boy finally realizes his true feelings towards Mangan’s sister and his desired Araby is just a simple dark bazaar. The boy realizes that he does not need a gift to express his love for her, he gives up instead. The boy experiences emotional growth, changing from a young teen boy to a starry-eyed adolescent in an instant. Joyce, called it “epiphany,” the boy finally understands that he allowed his feelings to get carried away. The boy was disappointed and angry at himself for acting the way he was acting. The boy “gazed up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.”

The young boy in the short story “Araby” is an amiable protagonist what also suffers both isolation and hostility. Since the boy has multiple personality traits such as; alertness, passion, sensitiveness and very impatient. The conflict all happens on the boy’s mind. The boy never shared his feelings towards Mangan’s sister to anyone. Mangan’s sister is also completely unaware of the boy feelings for her. However, Joyce’s epiphany shows on the last paragraph of the short story, for example: I lingered before her stall, though I knew my stay was useless, to make my interest in her wares seem the more real. Then I turned away slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar.”

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The Portrayal Of The Main Character In Araby. (2021, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-portrayal-of-the-main-character-in-araby/
“The Portrayal Of The Main Character In Araby.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2021, edubirdie.com/examples/the-portrayal-of-the-main-character-in-araby/
The Portrayal Of The Main Character In Araby. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-portrayal-of-the-main-character-in-araby/> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2022].
The Portrayal Of The Main Character In Araby [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 27 [cited 2022 Sept 29]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-portrayal-of-the-main-character-in-araby/
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