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International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL)Volume 4, Issue 9, September 2016, PP 85-90ISSN 2347-3126 (Print) & ISSN 2347-3134 12www.arcjournals.orgJoyce’s “Araby”: Love and DisillusionmentMs. RokeyaLecturer in English at Asian University of Bangladesh, BangladeshHouse#25, Road#5, Sector#7, Uttara Model Town, Dhaka: 1230, BangladeshA.K. Zunayet AhammedAssistant Professor of English at Northern University Bangladesh, Bangladesh93Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Karwan Bazar, Dhaka1215, BangladeshAbstract: James Joyce’s short story “Araby” depicts an adolescent boy’s disillusionment- disillusionmentwith love and reality. Brought up in dreary and dismal surroundings of Dublin with his uncle and aunt in anuninhabited house in restrictive catholic cultures, the boy seems to be lonely and repressed throughout thestory. He pines for the relish of romance and love. But in the joyless and loveless daily lives of Dubliners,nowhere in his environment does he find an outlet for his feelings. All of a sudden, he finds a beautiful girl,Mangan's sister, into his dark world and the very girl is the light in his romantic fantasy, someone who will lifthim out of darkness, he thinks. In his mind, she is both a saint to be worshipped and a woman to be desired. Theboy, however, wishes to win her over by promising to bring her a gift from an oriental bazaar, Araby, which, tohis young heart, is also an embodiment of ideal beauty and romantic grandeur. As the boy grows up, this bazaargets emblematic for the intricacy and complexity of the adult world where the boy fails to navigate. Heexperiences a shattering epiphany at the end of the story. His childish fantasies are smashed by the bleakrealities in Dublin and ultimately he develops a new viewpoint on life. Therefore, this paper is an attempt toshow how a young boy is disillusioned with love and reality.Keywords: Araby, Adolescence, Boy, Disillusionment, Epiphany, Love, Mangan’s Sister, RealityINTRODUCTIONJames Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 -13 January 1941) was a famous Irish, modernistwriter of the twentieth century. “Araby”, one of the most celebrated short stories in his collection ofstories Dubliners (1914), reveals the psychological condition of an unnamed adolescent while in questfor ideal beauty, love and romance in the dull and deadly surroundings of the Dublin city, illuminingthe subconscious mind where dreams and desires lie latent. The boy is the protagonist of the story. Torepresent his mental state, the author employs the method of stream of consciousness. The story doesnot have much physical action; most of the battles fought for the quest are psychological in nature andtake place in the inner recesses of the protagonist. However, the surrounds where he is growing upsymbolise the disappointment that the boy is going to face. This gloomy atmosphere narrows downthe boy‟s world and confines his spirit. Although the young boy cannot apprehend it intellectually, hefeels it and so he seeks „light‟ and romance everywhere. By this time he comes across an attractivegirl, the sister of his friend Mangan, who is also unnamed like him and obviously somewhat olderthan he and it is she who becomes an image to him of all that he craves for. But when he proceeds inhis quest for love, he comes into conflict with conservative and inflexible cultures which have littletolerance for idealism and romance. So he is, he says, „confused‟ of both sacred and physical love.However, going to Araby after eager waiting for it from where he desires to buy his dream girl a nicegift, the boy agonisingly discovers that Araby is not the place at all what he expected it to be. Hisdreams crumble in the face of harsh reality. He cannot buy anything. He gets utterly disappointed anddisillusioned. Therefore “Araby”, it can be said, is a story of love and disillusionment.The story begins with a disappointing description of the North Richmond Street. It is a „blind‟ and„quiet‟ street. Its grim silence is broken by the shouts of the boys of the Christian Brothers‟ Schoolonly after school hours. At the blind end of the street, there is a deserted house of two stories filledwith „cold empty gloomy rooms‟ formerly inhabited by a priest. It is detached from its neighbouringhouses. In this house, the boy lives. The back room of the house where the priest died is also ARCPage 85

Ms. Rokeya & A.K. Zunayet Ahammeduninhabited and empty, except for some rubbish left by the dead priest and musty air having beenlong enclosed. The other houses of the street stand quietly with their brown and silent exteriors inspite of affluence inside. In this description, Joyce links decency and a stifled life together. There areother frustrating descriptions also. During winter days, dusk falls here earlier than elsewhere. Whenthe boys are „set free‟ from the school, they are released into an environment where even play cannotgive them much pleasure because of biting cold. They are used to playing in the dark muddy lanesbehind the houses and also in the dark gardens with ash pits and stables scattered here and there.When they return from play, it is all dark, and the light from the kitchen windows serve to illuminetheir way through the street. There is no open space, no sky and no light. However, the use of ironyand symbolic images in the description of the setting where the boy lives shows the boy to besensitive to the values of the society. Sadly enough, there are no ideals about both spiritual andworldly love; no place of romance in Dublin. There is only preservation of empty ceremonies,false piety, and mechanical conformity to rules. This atmosphere of gloom and dullness seems tosuffocate the boy.Brought up in such an environment, the boy always remains mentally upset. While playing with hisfriends, he can see Mangan‟s sister when she comes at the doorstep of the house to call Mangan to histea. He develops an intense interest in the girl. Sometimes he worships the girl from religious point ofview, sometimes he is attracted by her figure and posture. On seeing her on the railing outside thehouse, the emotional language he uses proclaims that his attraction is physical rather than spiritual:"Her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side"1. “Thisvision of beauty only intensifies his already feverish passion for the girl.”2 He keeps on thinking abouther all the time. He actually wants to be around her. But he cannot really get close to her or get toknow her. Even he cannot express his love to her. Hence, he watches her from a distance withoutsaying anything. In every possible way, he also tries to have a glimpse of her. Every morning atschool time, the boy lies on the floor in the front room of his house peeking out through a crack in theblind of the door, watching and waiting for the girl leave her house for school. He is shy and stillboyish. As soon as she comes out of the house, he takes his books, rushes out and not daring to speak,he follows her quietly not letting her know. Close to the place where their paths diverge, the boyhurries to pass her as he expresses:Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlour watching her door. The blind was pulleddown to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen. When she came out on the doorstep my heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. I kept her brown figurealways in my eye and, when we came near the point at which our ways diverged, I quickened mypace and passed her.3He does these same actions morning after morning although the girl is unaware of his liking. She doesnot pay any special attention to him. One thing here should arguably be noted that when a penitentcomes before a holy figure, he is supposed to prostrate himself, and this is precisely what theprotagonist does only to see her in the morning. However, even though he does never speak to the girlexcept casually, her name is like a summons to all his „foolish blood‟4 and „foolish blood‟ refers to anardent desire to possess the woman sexually. Moreover, the boy is so infatuated with the girl that herimage accompanies him wherever he goes, “even in places the most hostile to romance"5. Her imagehaunts him in the crowds and noises of the streets of Dublin as well. In the bustle of the weeklygrocery shopping too, he carries with him a feeling about her. But “being adolescent, and educated byChristian Brothers, the boy's feelings of attraction are confusing, bedeviling and painful.” 6 So healways tosses between passions and religious indoctrination. “In glorifying Mangan‟s sister, incomparing her to a chalice, in praying to her, and worshipping her being, the boy is breaking the firstof the Ten Commandments.”7 Again due to the religious indoctrination, he struggles with culpabilityon account of feelings of natural sexual arousal for her. The „confused adoration‟ and the guilt that itgenerates are both products of the religiosity inflicted upon the boy by his elders. Maybe, the mostdirect and poignant moment of confusion is when the boy associates his love and passion for theunobtainable girl with the sacred Grail:I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips atmoments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were oftenfull of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself outinto my bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her ornot or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration.8International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL)Page 86

Joyce’s “Araby”: Love and DisillusionmentThe boy, shortly thereafter, again expresses his sensual desire for the girl: “my body was like a harpand her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.”9 Again on one rainy evening,the boy in a fit of romantic yearning secludes himself in a soundless, dark drawing-room and gives hisfeelings for her full release. This emotion of love finds an enchanting expression when he utters:“All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and, feeling that I was about to slip fromthem, I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: „O love! O love!‟many times.”10At last one day, surprisingly, Mangan‟s sister speaks to the boy. He is very thrilled, and his romanticmind is stirred to the depth. Really, when the girl, although casually, asks him whether he is going toAraby, a splendid bazaar that is coming to town, he gets so confused and excited that he cannot sayanything as any eager lover often does. Then the boy splendidly articulates his feelings:“When she addressed the first words to me I was so confused that I did not know what to answer.She asked me was I going to Araby. I forgot whether I answered yes or no.”11The girl again dolefully tells him that she wishes she could go to Araby bazaar but cannot, since shehas to attend a retreat in her school. During their short conversation, the boy notices all the details ofher. His eyes note flashes of skin and subtle movement of her. “The light from a street lampilluminates the girl‟s figure, highlighting the white curve of her neck and the white border of herpetticoat, and it touches upon her hair and her hand so that she appears to the boy as a Renaissancepainting of the Madonna.”12 This image “the white curve of her neck” is, undoubtedly, sensual. Then,so obsessed with the girl, the boy impulsively speaks: “If I go I will bring you something.”13 Actuallythey do not say anything particularly interesting to each other. The boy never communicates hisadoration to her. His love for her deepens inwardly. His true feelings come out in his promise to gether something. After promising a gift to the girl, the boy can think of nothing else but the girl andthe bazaar. To him his subjective feeling of love is the only reality. All the other things have noimportance to him. Now going to Araby becomes his business. He takes permission to go to Araby onSaturday. He can go to Araby-his soul „luxuriates‟ in the very syllables of the mystically magic name.Araby, with its mysterious eastern name, becomes as unfamiliar and alluring to the boy as Mangan'ssister. It too fulfils his need for romance, and he idealises it as he idealises the girl. In fact the boy‟sobsession with the girl transfers to an obsession with the gift, and with the bazaar where he will findit, he hopes.The internal battles begin to affect the days and nights leading up to the appointed day Saturday. Theboy wishes to annihilate these tedious intervening days. He is anxiously and impatiently waiting forAraby, his dreamland, to gratify his romantic cravings he has been nurturing in his bosom in the midstof the stifling condition of the Dublin city. So passionate in love, the boy can only see her image. Inthis situation, the boy describes his mental condition in the following words:“At night in my bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the page Istrove to read.”14The young boy miserably has to encounter so many difficulties and troubles on his way. He does notget any support from the adults during his quest as we see: “The adults that the boy encounters do notidentify with him or his romantic outlook. His aunt thinks the bazaar to be a „Freemason affair‟, hisschool teacher worries that he is „beginning to idle‟ and his uncle completely forgets about hispromise to supply the boy with money for his quest. It seems that none of the adults connect with orshare the boy‟s romantic world view, as they are all too jaded.‟ 15 Despite this discouraging situation,the boy continues to love the girl. The mixture of joy, confusion, titillation, anxiety, and guiltgenerated by the mere thought of the girl makes the boy restless. He has lost patience with all of hisregular activities because he cannot go to Araby for these works. He remains so absorbed in histhoughts that he cannot concentrate on his studies. Any serious work of life seems to him „uglymonotonous child‟s play‟16.Much-awaited Saturday at last comes. But possibly, nature does not conform to his mission. Theboy‟s ecstasy turns so easily to frustration and doubt. On the very morning, the boy is cast into adepression just because he misses his usual ritual of lying at the parlor window and followingMangan‟s sister to school since the air is pitilessly raw. While such opposition can be viewed asphysical in nature, it functions as more of a bad omen than a threat to the boy‟s well being. Afterward,when the boy is waiting for his uncle to return home to give him spending money for the bazaar, weInternational Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL)Page 87

Ms. Rokeya & A.K. Zunayet Ahammedfeel the boy's frustration mounting. He wants to go at once. Nevertheless, he has to wait the wholeday. He is so caught up at this point in internal fancies and passions, and so excited about the bazaarthat everything seems to be repulsive to him. Yet he has to go to school. He sits staring at the clock.When its ticking begins to irritate him, he goes upstairs leaving the room. He is so impatient that hefeels irritating to talk to Mrs. Mercer who has come to see his uncle. He is feeling cold and gloomy.He goes from one room to another singing. Really, the boy despairs of being able to go to Araby. Atnine o‟clock at night, the uncle comes back possibly after having visited a pub after work. By now itis quite late. But the boy still wants to go and “he overcomes these struggles, being wholeheartedlydetermined to acquire a gift for his „lady‟, in order to attain her physically” 17. So on receiving thesmall sum of money for the bazaar, after nine o‟clock at night, when “people are in bed and after theirfirst sleep”18, he begins the agonisingly slow journey sitting alone in a third-class carriage of „adeserted train‟ through darkness in slow motion, like a nightmare. The desertedness of the train, itsdelay, and slowness all symbolise gloom and a kind of disappointment that the boy is going to face.When a crowd of people at Westland Row Station try to press their way onto the train, the portersmove them back saying it a special train for the bazaar. All who go on a quest for the high and theholy must go alone. No one is included in the boy‟s quest too. The boy is very much a solo journeyer,with the „image‟ of the girl to keep him company. He enters the bazaar by handling a shilling to aweary looking man.But very much to his surprise and shock, the boy is disillusioned and dismayed by the appearance ofthe bazaar when he finally does arrive there too late. He is haunted by dullness, darkness andmechanical activities of the real Araby which contradicts his oriental and exotic fantasy about theideal Araby he creates mentally. Going to Araby, he observes that “Nearly all the stalls were closedand the greater part of the hall was in darkness”19. The boy “finds Araby much like North RichmondStreet, empty and dark with few people.”20 Again, he is struck by “a silence like that which pervades achurch after a service”21. “In that dark silence the boundaries of his small, private world of theimagination dissolve.”22 The Araby turns out not to be the most fantastic place he hoped it would be.Rather, it is exactly the sort of disap pointing bazaar. He does not find anything romanticthere. He is shaken seeing two men counting money on a „salver‟- a symbol of the moneylenders inthe temple. After that, approaching hesitantly another stall still open, he examines „porcelain vases‟and „flowered tea-sets‟ but they are far too expensive for him. Worst of all, however, is thevision of sexuality- „a young lady‟ is flirting with „two young gentlemen‟ at the door of the stall.The sexual atmosphere of their exchange confuses him. In a sudden flash of insight, the boy can seethe parallel between his love for the girl and the two gentlemen's „love‟ for this „lady‟; like theirs, hislove for the girl is also for physical attraction. In a sense, he is being hypocritical and vain like theadults, although at this point he does not know it. Besides, the woman who the boy thinks shouldattend him grudgingly asks him if he wants to buy something. The tone of her voice is „notencouraging‟ and she is asking him so, just „out of a sense of duty‟. Feeling unwanted by the woman,he says, „No, thank you‟. As the woman turns and walks away, he realises that his idealised visionof Araby is baffled, along with his idealised vision of Mangan‟s sister and of love. He cannot buyanything from Araby, and neither can he taste the glamour and the grandeur of the place he dreams.Before coming here, the boy was in the dream world. Now, he is quite helpless. Realising that histhoughts of Mangan's sister and Araby have been nothing but dreams, the boy stands alone in thedarkness with his shattered hopes. He cannot do anything to materialise his dreams. As he leaves thebazaar, he hears “a voice call from one end of the gallery that the light was out”23 symbolising thatthere is no hope for him anymore. He remains a prisoner of his modest means and his abysmal city hetried to escape. “As the upper hall becomes completely dark, the boy realises that his questhas ended.”24 But, the „quest‟ is not fruitless in a sense, because it results in an inner awareness and afirst step into manhood. He, therefore, admits to himself that he has become a victim of his ownvanity. When he realises that his dreams of holiness and love are inconsistent with the real world, hegets angry and anguished, not towards the Church, but towards himself as "a creature driven andderided by vanity"25. Then he is sad and dejected.CONCLUSIONViewed from the above critical analysis, it can be said that the story “Araby” culminates with theadolescent protagonist experiencing disillusionment and frustration. The Araby, like a silent assassin,devours his all fancies and yearnings. His pursuit of ideal beauty, love and romance is thwarted at theend of the story. Of course, disillusionment ultimately brings him realisation and maturation. Thus theInternational Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL)Page 88

Joyce’s “Araby”: Love and Disillusionmentboy achieves an internal transformation, an objective perspective and maturing insights into reality.Facing harsh reality in Araby, he realises that life is not what he dreamt it to be. His maturation hashelped him in better understanding the world, as he is not likely to be tricked again so easily by hisimagination. Disappointed and hurt, the boy also experiences that romantic desires do not correspondto the values of Dublin. Knowledge acquired from disillusionment prepares him for his life as an adultin early twentieth century Dublin. Above all, Araby “is not just a romantic disillusionment andfrustration that the story renders, it is more of a philosophical one where the problematic borderlinebetween illusion and reality is at stake”26.END NOTESJames Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 22362www.arts.cornell.edu/knight institute/./01louisabennion.pdf3James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 22374James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 22375James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, l p2.html#item257https://www.montclair.edu/./10 11 106 W Lock.pdf8James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 22379James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 223710James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 223711James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, ers2000-01.pdf13James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 223814James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 223815https://www.montclair.edu/./10 11 106 W Lock.pdf16James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 223817https://www.montclair.edu/./10 11 106 W Lock.pdf18James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 223819James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 223920http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id 2025221James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, 223922www.arts.cornell.edu/knight institute/./01louisabennion.pdf23James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, nalysis25James Joyce, “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA, S CITED[1] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition,Print.[2] www.arts.cornell.edu/knight institute/./01louisabennion.pdf[3] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition,Print.[4] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition,Print.[5] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition,Print.[6] http://force-feed4.rssing.com/chan-3648016/all p2.html#item25[7] https://www.montclair.edu/./10 11 106 W Lock.pdfInternational Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL)Vol.1, USA,Vol.1, USA,Vol.1, USA,Vol.1, USA,Page 89

Ms. Rokeya & A.K. Zunayet Ahammed[8] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[9] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[10] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[11] Joyce, James. “Araby”, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[12] 0-01.pdf[13] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[14] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[15] https://www.montclair.edu/./10 11 106 W Lock.pdf[16] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[17] https://www.montclair.edu/./10 11 106 W Lock.pdf[18] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[19] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[20] http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id 20252[21] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[22] www.arts.cornell.edu/knight institute/./01louisabennion.pdf[23] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[24] s[25] Joyce, James. “Araby”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th Edition, Vol.1, USA,Print.[26] tory-disillusionment-frustration-146903AUTHORS’ BIOGRAPHYMs. Rokeya, is a lecturer in the Department of English at Asian University ofBangladesh. She completed BA (Hons) and MA in English Literature from theUniversity of Rajshahi. Her areas of interest include Elizabethan and 17th CenturyPoetry, Romantic Poetry, Victorian Poetry, 20th Century English Fiction,Continental Literature and vice versa. She has published six research articles inrecognized peer-reviewed international journals. She writes occasionally indifferent dailies and little magazines.A.K. Zunayet Ahammed, is Assistant Professor of English at Northern UniversityBangladesh. He completed BA (Hons) and MA in English Literature from theUniversity of Rajshahi. He is interested in Elizabethan Drama, MetaphysicalPoetry, Romantic Poetry, Victorian Novels, 20th Century Modern Poetry, 20thCentury English Fiction, American Literature, Continental Literature,Commonwealth Literature and vice versa. His publications include one book andsix peer-reviewed articles, published in reputed journals at home and abroad. Hisanother book of English poems, Above the Clouds, is in the process of publication of which almost allthe poems are being published in Literary Yard, a popular online Indian literary magazine. Above all,he is a poet, researcher, critic and translator.International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL)Page 90

stories Dubliners (1914), reveals the psychological condition of an unnamed adolescent while in quest for ideal beauty, love and romance in the dull and deadly surroundings of the Dublin city, illumi