This short story was written by James Joyce who lived from 1882 to 1941; it is an extract from Dubliners, published in 1914. The book is compound with several short stories which take place in Dublin, and deal with the monotone life of some citizens. The text is entitled "Araby" and tells the story of the unrequited love of a young boy trapped in his everyday life. The events are presented through the voice of an anonymous narrator and reveal his difficulty to escape from the routine and his prosaic life. The author tackles many themes and symbols which allow the reader to enter a dark world surrounded by frustration, sadness and reality.
[...] As far as the time shift is concerned, many temporal markers are used; it provides the text with an impression of realism. At the beginning, the narrator speaks about his every day life and uses temporal markers such as: “dinners” which are realistic ones and which settles the narrator in an atmosphere of daily routine, reality. In the first part, as in almost the whole story, the scene takes place in the evening. Then other temporal markers are used, such as: “every morning “morning after morning Saturday evenings” 40) which stresses the fact that the narrator's life is a never-changing refrain and can explain his impatience when things start changing in the second part. [...]
[...] And so, the reader can see one of the most important opposition in the story, that is to say the difference between the narrator and his surrounding, especially his uncle and aunt. They represent the reality of life which overwhelms the narrator's imagination and love. The narrator's uncle is the personification of routine, tradition and past: he believes in old sayings 114), or recites old poems. More, while the narrator is worrying about his love, the uncle is “fussing at the hallstand, looking for his hat-brush” 84). [...]
[...] Those lexical fields are not the only ones, for example Joyce uses many verbs or expressions related with the senses: “odorous” 32,26,78), 96) , 57, “looked over” 95) showing the boy's sensitivity and passivity. He seems to be more interested in observing than in acting. He appears to be a romantic character. The vocabulary of real life and routine is also very important in the story : “bicycle-pump” “furniture” “dinners” “kitchen” “marketing” “drunken men, bargaining women” “curses of labourers” “shop-boys” “street-singers” “classroom” “hat-brush” clock” 101), 121), florin” 119), “Westland Row Station” 123) etc. [...]
[...] This final opposition can also be considered as a metaphor, the bushes symbolizing the impassioned boy and the apple tree symbolizing sex, desire, temptation, religion and the girl; in a way the apple tree structures the garden (it is in the centre of the garden) as the girl, religion, sex etc. make the boy feel alive and give him a reason to live. Some other rhetoric devices such as metonymies or metaphors contribute to see the narrator as a romantic hero. [...]
[...] Joyce uses many rhetoric devices throughout this text, which confers a poetic tone to the story but also contrasts with the theme of reality. First he uses personifications such as: “foolish blood” my senses seem to desire to veil themselves” “house in bad humour” pitilessly “school set the boys free” other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces” 3-5). This device allows the writer to suggest that even the landscape is livelier than the people who live there, the town and buildings are alive and control the Dubliners who are nothing but puppets trapped in reality and routine. [...]
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