“Araby” by James Joyce Is Not a Love Story
Compared to his other words, James Joyce’s “Araby” seems almost simplistic, with a touching yet fairly straightforward story of a boy falling in love with a girl living across the street being the main plot. However, while the love story is placed at the forefront and emphasized strongly, the true meaning of “Araby” remains hidden under layers of the specified storyline. Describing the main character’s journey from hope to disappointment, “Araby” seems to convey the meaning of a coming-of-age story, namely, the process of growing up and learning to accept bitter disappointment.
The ability to reconcile with a specific feeling of loss, be it the failed relationship or another kind of disappointment, becomes apparent as the essential message of the story as the lot progresses. Namely, as the character realizes his futility in building relationships with Araby, he experiences a series of conflicting emotions: “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity” (Joyce par. 37). Thus, Joyce proves the need for self-introspection as a part of entering adulthood and reconciling with loss. Despite the short story ending with the protagonist experiencing anger, Joyce leaves enough room for the further character growth and the eventual acceptance of the change.
Despite the love story being at the center of Joyce’s “Araby,” the core meaning of the story appears to lie in a more somber message of learning to accept disappointment as a part of becoming an adult. The specified idea is conveyed as the plot unravels, allowing the reader to follow the kaleidoscope of emotions that the protagonist experiences. As a result, at the end of the novel, the fleeting sense of excitement that captures the eliding character is replaced with the experience of loss and the ultimate learning that comes with its acknowledgment. Therefore, the process of growing up and accepting disappointment lies at the core of the story.
Joyce, James. Araby. OwlEyes. 1914. Web.