The Dubliners: Araby Essay

The Dubliners:  Araby

            My favorite story from James Joyce’s The Dubliners was “Araby.” Within this story’s short length, Joyce offered me a rich selection of word choices that, when blended together, created realistic images of the world as seen through the main character’s eyes. The smells, colors, places and people were described in just enough detail you felt as if you were walking the same streets.

North Richmond Street is a perfect snap shot of Dublin, Ireland over 100 years ago. The description of the board is being released from the Catholic school, the old priest’s house and the surrounding yards gives the reader the feel of this time. Small details, such as describing the coachman as he cares for his horse and the reference to the song about the “troubles” of the land not only place the reader in that time period (25).

            Joyce also gives a telling reference to the tensions that were present between the English and Irish at this time as well. When the young man goes to purchase an item at the bizarre for the young lady who is caught his eye in town, he goes to a booth where Asian faces are sold. He overhears three English people having a conversation, and the woman in the group comes over to speak to him. Her tone of voice and her dismissing behavior along with the looks from the two men she was talking to that were directed to the young Irishman take away his once joyous nature. He leaves the scene dejected and angry. He feels foolish or attempting to stay longer and show interest in what is being sold, but realizes that it will make no difference (30).

In this story, James Joyce is able to not only draw the reader into this world, but also to weave in the opposite nature of Dublin in being both a town of happiness and childhood play versus one of increasing tensions between two societies.

Works Cited

Joyce, James. The Dubliners. New York:  Penguin Books, 1991.