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7 pages

Examples (descriptions) of the mundane world that the young boy lives in
(Hint: Find specific quotes andexplain them

Examples (descriptions) of the young girl and his infatuation for her– and how she
(and his “feelings” for her) represents “something” that is better than that mundane world
(Hint: Find specific quotes and explain them)

Examples of his excitement and where he wants to go (the bazaar) and what it represents
for him (what his expectations are / why he is excited / why he wants to go)
(Hint: Find specific quotes and explain them)

Examples of what the bazaar ends up being for him and how he relates it to his excitement
for the young girl (Hint: Find specific quotes and explain them)

What his epiphany is and how it is connected to the mundane world he lives in and
his excitement and later disappointment and sudden realization
(Hint: Find specific quotes and explain them)

7 pages

1 | P a g e

Araby by James Joyce
(From Joyce’s short story collection Dubliners)

North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian
Brothers’ School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end,
detached from its neighbours in a square ground. The other houses of the street, conscious of
decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.

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. 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.

When the short days of winter came, dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinners. When we met
in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of sky above us was the colour of ever-
changing violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air stung
us and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts echoed in the silent street. The career of our
play brought us through the dark muddy lanes behind the houses, where we ran the gauntlet of the
rough tribes from the cottages, to the back doors of the dark dripping gardens where odours arose
from the ashpits, to the dark odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse
or shook music from the buckled harness. When we returned to the street, light from the kitchen
windows had filled the areas. If my uncle was seen turning the corner, we hid in the shadow until we
had seen him safely housed. Or if Mangan’s sister came out on the doorstep to call her brother in to
his tea, we watched her from our shadow peer up and down the street. We waited to see whether
she would remain or go in and, if she remained, we left our shadow and walked up to Mangan’s
steps resignedly. She was waiting for us, her figure defined by the light from the half-opened door.
Her brother always teased her before he obeyed, and I stood by the railings looking at her. 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 parlour watching her door. The blind was pulled down
to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen. When she came out on the doorstep my
heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. I kept her brown figure always in
my eye and, when we came near the point at which our ways diverged, I quickened my pace and
passed her. This happened morning after morning. I had never spoken to her, except for a few
casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.

Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance. On Saturday evenings when
my aunt went marketing I had to go to carry some of the parcels. We walked through the flaring
streets, jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses of labourers, 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. These noises converged in a single sensation of life for me: I imagined that I bore my
chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers

2 | P a g e

and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why)
and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the
future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell
her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like
fingers running upon the wires.

One evening I went into the back drawing-room in which the priest had died. It was a dark rainy
evening and there was no sound in the house. Through one of the broken panes I heard the rain
impinge upon the earth, the fine incessant needles of water playing in the sodden beds. Some
distant lamp or lighted window gleamed below me. I was thankful that I could see so little. All my
senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and, feeling that I was about to slip from them, I pressed
the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: ‘O love! O love!’ many times.

At last she spoke to me. When she addressed the first words to me I was so confused that I did not
know what to answer. She asked me was I going to Araby. I forgot whether I answered yes or no. It
would be a splendid bazaar; she said she would love to go.

‘And why can’t you?’ I asked.

While she spoke she turned a silver bracelet round and round her wrist. She could not go, she said,
because there would be a retreat that week in her convent. Her brother and two other boys were
fighting for their caps, and I was alone at the railings. She held one of the spikes, bowing her head
towards me. The light from the lamp opposite our door caught the white curve of her neck, lit up
her hair that rested there and, falling, lit up the hand upon the railing. It fell over one side of her
dress and caught the white border of a petticoat, just visible as she stood at ease.

‘It’s well for you,’ she said.

‘If I go,’ I said, ‘I will bring you something.’

What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and sleeping thoughts after that evening! I wished
to annihilate the tedious intervening days. I chafed against the work of school. At night in my
bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the page I strove to read.
The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated
and cast an Eastern enchantment over me. I asked for leave to go to the bazaar on Saturday night.
My aunt was surprised, and hoped it was not some Freemason affair. I answered few questions in
class. I watched my master’s face pass from amiability to sternness; he hoped I was not beginning to
idle. I could not call my wandering thoughts together. I had hardly any patience with the serious
work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly
monotonous child’s play.

On Saturday morning I reminded my uncle that I wished to go to the bazaar in the evening. He was
fussing at the hallstand, looking for the hat-brush, and answered me curtly:

‘Yes, boy, I know.’

As he was in the hall I could not go into the front parlour and lie at the window. I felt the house in
bad humour and walked slowly towards the school. The air was pitilessly raw and already my heart

3 | P a g e

misgave me.

When I came home to dinner my uncle had not yet been home. Still it was early. I sat staring at the
clock for some time and, when its ticking began to irritate me, I left the room. I mounted the
staircase and gained the upper part of the house. The high, cold, empty, gloomy rooms liberated me
and I went from room to room singing. From the front window I saw my companions playing below
in the street. Their cries reached me weakened and indistinct and, leaning my forehead against the
cool glass, I looked over at the dark house where she lived. I may have stood there for an hour,
seeing nothing but the brown-clad figure cast by my imagination, touched discreetly by the
lamplight at the curved neck, at the hand upon the railings and at the border below the dress.

When I came downstairs again I found Mrs Mercer sitting at the fire. She was an old, garrulous
woman, a pawnbroker’s widow, who collected used stamps for some pious purpose. I had to endure
the gossip of the tea-table. The meal was prolonged beyond an hour and still my uncle did not
come. Mrs Mercer stood up to go: she was sorry she couldn’t wait any longer, but it was after eight
o’clock and she did not like to be out late, as the night air was bad for her. When she had gone I
began to walk up and down the room, clenching my fists. My aunt said:

‘I’m afraid you may put off your bazaar for this night of Our Lord.’

At nine o’clock I heard my uncle’s latchkey in the hall door. I heard him talking to himself and heard
the hallstand rocking when it had received the weight of his overcoat. I could interpret these signs.
When he was midway through his dinner I asked him to give me the money to go to the bazaar. He
had forgotten.

‘The people are in bed and after their first sleep now,’ he said.

I did not smile. My aunt said to him energetically:

‘Can’t you give him the money and let him go? You’ve kept him late enough as it is.’

My uncle said he was very sorry he had forgotten. He said he believed in the old saying: ‘All work
and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ He asked me where I was going and, when I told him a second
time, he asked me did I know The Arab’s Farewell to his Steed. When I left the kitchen he was about
to recite the opening lines of the piece to my aunt.

I held a florin tightly in my hand as I strode down Buckingham Street towards the station. The sight
of the streets thronged with buyers and glaring with gas recalled to me the purpose of my journey. I
took my seat in a third-class carriage of a deserted train. After an intolerable delay the train moved
out of the station slowly. It crept onward among ruinous houses and over the twinkling river. At
Westland Row Station a crowd of people pressed to the carriage doors; but the porters moved them
back, saying that it was a special train for the bazaar. I remained alone in the bare carriage. In a few
minutes the train drew up beside an improvised wooden platform. I passed out on to the road and
saw by the lighted dial of a clock that it was ten minutes to ten. In front of me was a large building
which displayed the magical name.

I could not find any sixpenny entrance and, fearing that the bazaar would be closed, I passed in
quickly through a turnstile, handing a shilling to a weary-looking man. I found myself in a big hall

4 | P a g e

girded at half its height by a gallery. Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall
was in darkness. I recognized a silence like that which pervades a church after a service. I walked
into the centre of the bazaar timidly. A few people were gathered about the stalls which were still
open. Before a curtain, over which the words Café Chantant were written in coloured lamps, two
men were counting money on a salver. I listened to the fall of the coins.

Remembering with difficulty why I had come, I went over to one of the stalls and examined
porcelain vases and flowered tea-sets. At the door of the stall a young lady was talking and laughing
with two young gentlemen. I remarked their English accents and listened vaguely to their
conversation.

‘O, I never said such a thing!’

‘O, but you did!’

‘O, but I didn’t!’

‘Didn’t she say that?’

‘Yes. I heard her.’

‘O, there’s a… fib!’

Observing me, the young lady came over and asked me did I wish to buy anything. The tone of her
voice was not encouraging; she seemed to have spoken to me out of a sense of duty. I looked
humbly at the great jars that stood like eastern guards at either side of the dark entrance to the stall
and murmured:

‘No, thank you.’

The young lady changed the position of one of the vases and went back to the two young men. They
began to talk of the same subject. Once or twice the young lady glanced at me over her shoulder.

I lingered before her stall, though I knew my stay was useless, to make my interest in her wares
seem the more real. Then I turned away slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar. I allowed
the two pennies to fall against the sixpence in my pocket. I heard a voice call from one end of the
gallery that the light was out. The upper part of the hall was now completely dark.

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes
burned with anguish and anger.

7 Pages

Overall Task: Using your analysis of key passages from the story, address the specific task for the story. Make sure that you specifically address the task! 

Specific Task: Explore the epiphany that the young boy has in James Joyce’s “Araby.” In order to do this, you must analyze (a) the mundane world that he lives in, (b) how his infatuation for the young girl seems to offer him an escape from that mundane world, and (c) his epiphany at the end of the story when he realizes the foolishness of his infatuation. 

Textual Analysis: Make sure that you analyze the text of the story.  You do not need to analyze
everything, but you should definitely quote significant passages and explain them.

Structure:

A formal introduction that (a) establishes the nature / plot of the short story (very brief summary) and
introduces the themes and/or literary style and (b) provides a thesis that specifically asserts your
conclusion about the importance of those themes and/or literary styles.  

“Araby” – the theme of a young boy who tries to escape the mundane word of Dublin only to
end up having an epiphany in which he faces the foolishness of his infatuation. 

Your body paragraphs must explore the nature of “those themes” / “that literary style” by specifically
analyzing the text.  Do not just retell the story.  You are exploring the actual language of the text and
showing how the theme/literary style works.   SHOW us … do NOT just tell us.  
Your conclusion must be a conclusion that comes from your analysis of the story’s text and your
discussion of how the theme and/or literary style relates to the overall story and then specifically
concludes what the importance of the themes and/or literary styles is. 

7 pages

1 | P a g e

Araby by James Joyce
(From Joyce’s short story collection Dubliners)

North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian
Brothers’ School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end,
detached from its neighbours in a square ground. The other houses of the street, conscious of
decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.

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. 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.

When the short days of winter came, dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinners. When we met
in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of sky above us was the colour of ever-
changing violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air stung
us and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts echoed in the silent street. The career of our
play brought us through the dark muddy lanes behind the houses, where we ran the gauntlet of the
rough tribes from the cottages, to the back doors of the dark dripping gardens where odours arose
from the ashpits, to the dark odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse
or shook music from the buckled harness. When we returned to the street, light from the kitchen
windows had filled the areas. If my uncle was seen turning the corner, we hid in the shadow until we
had seen him safely housed. Or if Mangan’s sister came out on the doorstep to call her brother in to
his tea, we watched her from our shadow peer up and down the street. We waited to see whether
she would remain or go in and, if she remained, we left our shadow and walked up to Mangan’s
steps resignedly. She was waiting for us, her figure defined by the light from the half-opened door.
Her brother always teased her before he obeyed, and I stood by the railings looking at her. 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 parlour watching her door. The blind was pulled down
to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen. When she came out on the doorstep my
heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. I kept her brown figure always in
my eye and, when we came near the point at which our ways diverged, I quickened my pace and
passed her. This happened morning after morning. I had never spoken to her, except for a few
casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.

Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance. On Saturday evenings when
my aunt went marketing I had to go to carry some of the parcels. We walked through the flaring
streets, jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses of labourers, 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. These noises converged in a single sensation of life for me: I imagined that I bore my
chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers

2 | P a g e

and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why)
and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the
future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell
her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like
fingers running upon the wires.

One evening I went into the back drawing-room in which the priest had died. It was a dark rainy
evening and there was no sound in the house. Through one of the broken panes I heard the rain
impinge upon the earth, the fine incessant needles of water playing in the sodden beds. Some
distant lamp or lighted window gleamed below me. I was thankful that I could see so little. All my
senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and, feeling that I was about to slip from them, I pressed
the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: ‘O love! O love!’ many times.

At last she spoke to me. When she addressed the first words to me I was so confused that I did not
know what to answer. She asked me was I going to Araby. I forgot whether I answered yes or no. It
would be a splendid bazaar; she said she would love to go.

‘And why can’t you?’ I asked.

While she spoke she turned a silver bracelet round and round her wrist. She could not go, she said,
because there would be a retreat that week in her convent. Her brother and two other boys were
fighting for their caps, and I was alone at the railings. She held one of the spikes, bowing her head
towards me. The light from the lamp opposite our door caught the white curve of her neck, lit up
her hair that rested there and, falling, lit up the hand upon the railing. It fell over one side of her
dress and caught the white border of a petticoat, just visible as she stood at ease.

‘It’s well for you,’ she said.

‘If I go,’ I said, ‘I will bring you something.’

What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and sleeping thoughts after that evening! I wished
to annihilate the tedious intervening days. I chafed against the work of school. At night in my
bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the page I strove to read.
The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated
and cast an Eastern enchantment over me. I asked for leave to go to the bazaar on Saturday night.
My aunt was surprised, and hoped it was not some Freemason affair. I answered few questions in
class. I watched my master’s face pass from amiability to sternness; he hoped I was not beginning to
idle. I could not call my wandering thoughts together. I had hardly any patience with the serious
work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly
monotonous child’s play.

On Saturday morning I reminded my uncle that I wished to go to the bazaar in the evening. He was
fussing at the hallstand, looking for the hat-brush, and answered me curtly:

‘Yes, boy, I know.’

As he was in the hall I could not go into the front parlour and lie at the window. I felt the house in
bad humour and walked slowly towards the school. The air was pitilessly raw and already my heart

3 | P a g e

misgave me.

When I came home to dinner my uncle had not yet been home. Still it was early. I sat staring at the
clock for some time and, when its ticking began to irritate me, I left the room. I mounted the
staircase and gained the upper part of the house. The high, cold, empty, gloomy rooms liberated me
and I went from room to room singing. From the front window I saw my companions playing below
in the street. Their cries reached me weakened and indistinct and, leaning my forehead against the
cool glass, I looked over at the dark house where she lived. I may have stood there for an hour,
seeing nothing but the brown-clad figure cast by my imagination, touched discreetly by the
lamplight at the curved neck, at the hand upon the railings and at the border below the dress.

When I came downstairs again I found Mrs Mercer sitting at the fire. She was an old, garrulous
woman, a pawnbroker’s widow, who collected used stamps for some pious purpose. I had to endure
the gossip of the tea-table. The meal was prolonged beyond an hour and still my uncle did not
come. Mrs Mercer stood up to go: she was sorry she couldn’t wait any longer, but it was after eight
o’clock and she did not like to be out late, as the night air was bad for her. When she had gone I
began to walk up and down the room, clenching my fists. My aunt said:

‘I’m afraid you may put off your bazaar for this night of Our Lord.’

At nine o’clock I heard my uncle’s latchkey in the hall door. I heard him talking to himself and heard
the hallstand rocking when it had received the weight of his overcoat. I could interpret these signs.
When he was midway through his dinner I asked him to give me the money to go to the bazaar. He
had forgotten.

‘The people are in bed and after their first sleep now,’ he said.

I did not smile. My aunt said to him energetically:

‘Can’t you give him the money and let him go? You’ve kept him late enough as it is.’

My uncle said he was very sorry he had forgotten. He said he believed in the old saying: ‘All work
and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ He asked me where I was going and, when I told him a second
time, he asked me did I know The Arab’s Farewell to his Steed. When I left the kitchen he was about
to recite the opening lines of the piece to my aunt.

I held a florin tightly in my hand as I strode down Buckingham Street towards the station. The sight
of the streets thronged with buyers and glaring with gas recalled to me the purpose of my journey. I
took my seat in a third-class carriage of a deserted train. After an intolerable delay the train moved
out of the station slowly. It crept onward among ruinous houses and over the twinkling river. At
Westland Row Station a crowd of people pressed to the carriage doors; but the porters moved them
back, saying that it was a special train for the bazaar. I remained alone in the bare carriage. In a few
minutes the train drew up beside an improvised wooden platform. I passed out on to the road and
saw by the lighted dial of a clock that it was ten minutes to ten. In front of me was a large building
which displayed the magical name.

I could not find any sixpenny entrance and, fearing that the bazaar would be closed, I passed in
quickly through a turnstile, handing a shilling to a weary-looking man. I found myself in a big hall

4 | P a g e

girded at half its height by a gallery. Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall
was in darkness. I recognized a silence like that which pervades a church after a service. I walked
into the centre of the bazaar timidly. A few people were gathered about the stalls which were still
open. Before a curtain, over which the words Café Chantant were written in coloured lamps, two
men were counting money on a salver. I listened to the fall of the coins.

Remembering with difficulty why I had come, I went over to one of the stalls and examined
porcelain vases and flowered tea-sets. At the door of the stall a young lady was talking and laughing
with two young gentlemen. I remarked their English accents and listened vaguely to their
conversation.

‘O, I never said such a thing!’

‘O, but you did!’

‘O, but I didn’t!’

‘Didn’t she say that?’

‘Yes. I heard her.’

‘O, there’s a… fib!’

Observing me, the young lady came over and asked me did I wish to buy anything. The tone of her
voice was not encouraging; she seemed to have spoken to me out of a sense of duty. I looked
humbly at the great jars that stood like eastern guards at either side of the dark entrance to the stall
and murmured:

‘No, thank you.’

The young lady changed the position of one of the vases and went back to the two young men. They
began to talk of the same subject. Once or twice the young lady glanced at me over her shoulder.

I lingered before her stall, though I knew my stay was useless, to make my interest in her wares
seem the more real. Then I turned away slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar. I allowed
the two pennies to fall against the sixpence in my pocket. I heard a voice call from one end of the
gallery that the light was out. The upper part of the hall was now completely dark.

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes
burned with anguish and anger.