Araby - B.A English Short Story Complete Notes Punjab University 2015

Araby

James Joyce
Summary
The story “Araby” is a beautiful depiction of the contrast between our imagination and the reality. We are too imaginative that realty makes us sad when it is revealed to us.
The narrator of the story is a schoolboy. He loves the sister of one his playmate, Manga. He cannot express his love to her. He loves her madly. Her word was more than a law for him. He is always absorbed in her thoughts. He sees her through the eye of imagination. He loves her too much to express to her confidently. He often cries in her memory. He never dared to talk to her.  Once the girl talks to her and asks him to go to Araby, a bazaar.
The boy promises that he will go there and bring something for her. So he went to Araby just because she wished him to do so. He was late because he had to wait for his uncle to get some money. He leaves for Araby very late with a very little money. He goes to a shop, looks at things. However, he cannot buy anything because of his little money.  He repents on his promise and his eyes burn with anger and anguish. (204 words)

What is the theme of the story “Araby”?
The theme of the story “Araby” is that the subjective feelings of a person and the objective world are two opposing things. There is no agreement between them. First, we do not understand this disagreement, but later we come to understand that, and we are disillusioned. Then we are sad and dejected.
The narrator in the story is in love with his friend’s sister. To him his subjective feeling of love is the only reality. All other things have no importance for him. Nothing is important for him now. He usually weeps without knowing why he is weeping. These are the subjective feelings of the boy. This is his illusion.
His objective world is that he is just schoolboy. Perhaps he is an orphan too. His uncle is his patron. He should not have promised the girls that he would bring something or her. He cannot bring anything for her, because he is himself dependent on his uncle.
There is great disagreement between his subjective feelings and the objective world. When he comes to understand this disagreement, is disillusioned. Then he is sad and dejected. (185 words)

With reference to “Araby”, discuss the intensity of the schoolboy’s love.
Describe narrator’s attitude towards Mangan’s sister.
The schoolboy is a passionate lover. Discuss.
James Joyce shows the effect of love on its victims. Comment
In this story, the schoolboy appears to be a passionate lover. We also come to know the effect of love on its victims.
The schoolboy is a teenager. He loves Mangan’s sister very passionately, but he cannot express it. He is mad in her love. He wants to be around her. At school time as soon as she comes out of her house, he takes his books, rushes out and follows her without letting her know. He does some foolish acts under the effect of his love for her. He keeps on thinking about her even in the classroom and cannot focus on his studies.
He is so intense in his love he cannot understand why his eyes are full of tears. He says about his condition: “But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.” He had become so much intense in his love that now her image is always before his eyes.
So, the writer has shown the intensity of the schoolboy’s love. His love had become his whole business. This is the effect of love on its victims. (191 words)

Write a note on the mental condition of the schoolboy after his talk with Mangan’s sister.
Why were the schoolboy’s teachers annoyed with the schoolboy?
How did the schoolboy behave on Saturday when he was to go to Araby? Describe his feelings.
After his talk with Mangan’s sister, he started thinking about Araby all the time. He thought about that not only during daytime but also in his dreams. He was so impatient that he could not wait. He wanted to go to Araby at once.
On Saturday, he was very restless and impatient. He wanted to go at once. Nevertheless, he had to wait the whole day. He had to go to school and he had to wait for his uncle’s return. Before leaving for school, he reminded his uncle that he wished to go to Araby that day. He was not in a good mood when he left. His uncle did not return until dinnertime. He wanted money from him. Therefore, he had to wait.
He was feeling cold and gloomy. He went from one room to another singing. From the front window, he saw his companions playing. He looked at the dark house of the girl. He started imagining that the girl was standing and before him. He saw light touching her neck, her hand, and her dress. He stood there for an hour.
At nine O’clock, his uncle returned home. At the dinner table, he asked for money. His uncle gave him one florin and started reading a poem, but he did not listen to it and started for Araby. (222)

The schoolboy of the story “Araby” is the representative of the adolescence. Discuss.
The schoolboy is the representative of his class. Discuss.
No doubt, the schoolboy of the story “Araby” represents the adolescence. It is an age when boys are not mature. They are inexperienced and sentimental. They do not know anything about the bitter realities of life. To them their subjective world is everything. They want such things as are out of their reach. However, they do not come to know their real position until they are face-to-face wit bitter realities.
We see that the boy or the protagonist is just like that. He is immature and inexperienced and only a schoolboy. He is sentimental too. He falls in love, but does not know how to express it. He looks at his beloved in fascination from a distance. He keeps on thinking about her not only at night but also during the daytime. He remembers her when he is in his classroom and even when he goes to market with his aunt. Her image always remains before his eyes. His eyes are full of tears and he does not know why he is weeping. Now the serious work of life seems to him child’s play.
He does not know anything about the bitter realities of life. He promises to the girl that he would bring something for her. He forgets that he depends on his uncle and he does not have any money with him. He does not realize that until he stands at the shop and perhaps sees the high prices of things written on them. Now he is face to face with the bitter realities of life. He comes to know that he has very little money and with that money, he cannot buy anything for the girl. (279)

How does the schoolboy come to know that he is wrong and he should not have promised to bring something for the girl?
Why is the protagonist angry at the end of the story and why do his eyes burn with anguish?
“Araby” describes a conflict between the subjective feeling of the protagonist and the objective world.
What is the disillusionment of the schoolboy or the protagonist?
Discuss the narrator’s mental condition and the gap between his hopes and their fulfillment.
Conflict is a state of disagreement between opposing ideas. When we read the story “Araby” carefully, we find that two opposing ideas have been presented. The first idea is schoolboy’s subjective feelings and the second idea is his objective or real world. There is a conflict between the personal feelings of a person and the real world.
The boy falls in love with his friend’s sister. To him his subjective feeling of love is the only reality. All the other things have no importance for him. To him the serious work of live is a child’s play. He keeps on thinking about her all the time. Even when he goes to market, he thinks about her.
In the classroom, he cannot pay attention to his studies. Nothing is important for him now. He usually weeps without knowing why he is weeping. He promises to buy a gift for the girl. These are the subjective feelings of the boy. This is his illusion. His objective world is that he is just a schoolboy. Perhaps he is an orphan too. His uncle is his patron. He should not have promised the girls to bring something for her. He cannot buy anything for her because he himself is dependent on his uncle.
Therefore, we see that there is a big disagreement between his subjective feelings and objective world.
It is only at the end of the story that he comes to know what he is and what he should not have done. He is disillusioned. With his little money, he cannot buy anything for her. It was his vanity when he promised to bring something for her. It is the sense of reality that makes his eyes burn with anguish and anger. (289)

What are symbolic meanings of the deserted train and dark bazaar in the story “Araby”?

Writers always set the situation for the end of the story. The setting of story always foretells the end of the story. If the end is pleasant, the writer always talks about light, day, and good things. If the end is tragic, the writer always talks about night, darkness, cold, gloom, death and other bad things. Therefore, the desertedness of the train, its delay, and slowness all symbolize the tragic end and the disappointment that the boy is going to face.
The dark bazaar symbolizes the narrator’s ignorance. He promises to the girl that he will bring something for her from “Araby”. He does not know that he cannot buy a gift for the girl with his little money. Therefore, the darkness of the bazaar shows his ignorance. The darkness of bazaar also symbolizes the bitter realities of life. It is a reality that he is immature and inexperienced and does not know anything about the power of money. Therefore, by looking into the darkness, he realizes his foolishness. This darkness also symbolizes that we cannot fulfill all wishes. Various things that are out of our reach and we cannot get them.

Therefore, we see that the deserted train and the dark bazaar are highly symbolic. (206 words)

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About Saif Ullah

Hi, I am Saif Ullah, a teacher, trainer, educational writer and consultant