The essay should showcase the RESEARCH of your critical perspective(s) and explain its use in examining your text. What is the ?Axis of Reality? and HOW did your text ?probe? there?
This essay is supposed to explain what is real and what is not real. It needs to show where James Joyce exposes his reality and what he wants readers to get out of the story.]and It needs to highlight areas that bring meaning to our everyday life.
Here are my critical perspectives to help
The themes of Joyce?s ?Araby
? highlights how sociologically in Ireland, Catholicism still had its great influence, despite the evolution of modern sexual attitudes, as evidenced in the man?s frowning upon female sexual freedom at the fair. The use of sexuality in the story highlights the author James Joyce?s free ability to use sexual morals and plot devices in his short story collection Dubliners, from which the tale ?Araby
? is derived, in the new modern literary context of Ireland.
The ever dominant nature of Catholicism is felt early on in the tale. ?The former tenant of our house, a priest, had died in the back drawing-room. Air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms, and the waste room behind the kitchen was littered with old useless papers. Among these I found a few paper-covered books, the pages of which were curled and damp: The Abbot, by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant, and The Memoirs of Vidocq. I liked the last best because its leaves were yellow.? These books highlight the wearing out of the Catholic faith, as well as the boy?s unconscious love of the old faith and the way that its values have made an impact upon his unconscious mentality towards women. ?The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple-tree and a few straggling bushes, under one of which I found the late tenant's rusty bicycle-pump. He had been a very charitable priest; in his will he had left all his money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister.? But the death of the priest seems to imply that the Catholic faith was gradually diminishing in the new historical context of turn of the century, modern Ireland.
In the priest?s place comes Managan?s sister, whom the young narrator regards with evident sexual desire to the reader. He quotes ?Her dress swung as she moved her body, and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side. Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlor watching her door.? Joyce?s narrator states, ?my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.? The boy regards the woman as so pure, like a Lady Madonna that ?her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance.? But the things such as the ?drunken men and bargaining women,? of the streets, doing business ?amid the curses of laborers, the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by the barrels of pigs' cheeks, the nasal chanting of street-singers, who sang a come-all-you about O'Donovan Rossa, or a ballad about the troubles in our native land,? eventually are seen as one with the sister, at the Araby
fair to come.Note how the woman is called a ?sister? like a nun, but also ?sister? is a familiar slang term for a woman whom one does not know, whom one sees in the street. Thus, although the tale is told in the third person, Joyce as an author makes clear that there is a great deal of hypocrisy in the narrator?s despising of the woman?s sexuality and also a great deal of confusion in the boy?s perspective. Prayer and sexuality are fused as the young man promises to give Managan?s sister something he finds at the fair. ?I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: 'O love! O love!' many times.? The boy, is unaware of his sensual desire for this woman?s purity, and the fusing of prayer with sensual love in the positioning of his hands.
However, although the woman does not do anything wrong to the young man, when the boy is actually able to go to Araby
, the young narrator?s dream-vision is cut so short by reality. Eventually, he does not buy the woman anything as he promised, and he comes to dislike the woman he once admired with unconscious desire. The carnival is cheap and tawdry, and significantly, people with English as opposed to Irish accents are selling their wares. The sexuality of the fair Managan?s sister desired to attend makes the boy think less of her, and he buys her nothing. ?The boy is totally defeated: his quest has failed and he has not achieved his aim, which was to buy a present for the girl. But society has defeated him too, in the form of British condescension toward the Irish. His own rashness has left him with [nothing],? as the boy did not calculate the cost of transportation to the fair in his estimation of the expenses of the outing. But the boy?s ?own ego and self-deception? are also to blame.
These characteristics ?have defeated him in allowing him to think that his quest was a spiritual one?when the mundane sexual overtones of the woman's flirtation with her accusers allows him to realize that the bazaar is a place of sexuality and materialism rather than spirituality. He realizes his own vanity, the futility of life in Dublin, his own worthlessness, his own foolishness, his unprofitable use of time, and the ridiculous high opinion he has of himself. He sees himself as the reader has seen him for some time, and he realizes that there is no Araby
in Ireland.? (Blumberg & Gray, 2005)
The British quality of the dialogue at Araby
is especially significant in the short story?s historical context. The special place Managan?s sister ?has come to turns out to be enemy territory for the young Irishman, as the British are running this bazaar. Note further that this brief snippet of conversation is commonplace, ordinary even vulgar in tone: the British are vulgar, Ireland is vulgar (we have seen this in the character of the boy's uncle and Mrs. Mercer), and the boy is vulgar in the sense that his quest was not the spiritual journey he thought it was. Joyce further stresses the theme of deception, including self-deception in the story, by having the woman deny the accusers three times, which recalls Peter's denial of his association with Christ. (See Matthew 26:69-75, as well as Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62, and John 18:16-27).? (Blumberg & Gray, 2005)
Yet this use of the Biblical reference of the denial of Peter being comparable to the denial of the mission of the young narrator does not mean that Joyce validates the young man?s perspective that the woman is bad because she desired something from Araby
. Joyce sees it as an inevitable consequence of seeing the woman, once a pure object of desire, as a human being, she is no more a chaste, Catholic ideal, of the sort the boy has been taught about at his Christian Brother?s school only down the road. Joyce himself was brought up with such an educational history. (Bibliomania, 2005) However, with the perspective of history and age the author was able to place his more human understanding of the feminine as well as the masculine in a context larger than the ?blind? Irish nationalism and Catholicism of the common interpretation of women in the faith.
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