Joyce’s Desires in “Araby”
Sometimes in life people get caught up in certain things. This causes a dramatic change in their emotions and the way that their thoughts progress. When this happens often people think unrealistically. The short story “Araby” is about a Christian boy who slowly becomes infatuated with his friends sister. Although he has only talked to her once, she is always on his mind. In James Joyce’s “Araby” the narrator is blinded by religious and romantic desires.
The narrator in “Araby” is a young, unnamed boy who attends a Christian school in Dublin, Ireland. The part of town that he lives in is the least fortunate. It’s the poorest neighbourhood in the town. The majority of the people in Dublin value religion and follow a religious lifestyle. The boy lives in a small, old house and attends an all-boys Christian school. “North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except when the Christian Brothers’ School set the boys free” (Joyce 23). This quote suggests that their religion had imprisoned and probably blinded them. The boys can finally be themselves when they are let out by the eyes of the church. After school the young boy comes home and is under the care of his aunt and uncle. His uncle is a verbally abusive alcoholic. The young boy is frightened by his uncle’s abusive behaviour and tries to avoid having any sort of contact with him: “If my uncle was seen turning the corner we hid in the shadow until we had seen him safely housed” (24). Throughout the story the young boy has several mixed emotions. He is frightened by his uncles’ drunkenness and confused by his sexual desires of Mangan’s sister.
The young boy had never talked to her but could not stop thinking about her: “Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand” (25). He does not think that he will ever work up the courage to talk to her and doesn’t know how he would approach her if he ever got the chance. He...