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Lesson on James Joyces Araby

By Andrea Frankenfeld
Objectives:
To introduce James Joyce through the short story Araby
To discuss the ideas and imagery from Araby
To relate to Araby as a high school student
To understand epiphany as it is used in Araby and apply it authentically to life
Introduce a little bit about James Joyce and Araby(See notes on page 3 and following.)
One-two sentence summary of Araby.
Compare with the person next to you. One word summary of Araby. Words on board.
Share with everyone. (7) Any questions about the text?
Free write about Araby. You will be asked to share this in about 5 minutes. (7 min) (7
min for sharing)
What did you like? (Although I dont necessarily agree with what Joyce seems to be
saying about the church and religion, I always like to read about other perspectives on the
church.) What did you not like? (I didnt like the hopelessness of the tone/mood. I like
it when authors offer hope in a way that isnt cheesy.) What literary techniques did you
notice? Does this remind you of anything else that youve read this year or ever? Why?
What sticks out to you the most about this story? Mood or religious imagery. Discuss
this.
Break students into groups to discuss questions on the next page. Come back together at
the end for a recap of each groups discussion.
Think of a time in your life when you had to grow up suddenly, or a time when you
realized something about yourself suddenly. Write your own epiphany (past or present).
Share. (7 minutes)
Im married now! Im never alone. Sharing sometimes feels like an obligation, but I
always have someone to share meals and holidays with.

1. How would you describe the mood of Araby? Find at least three examples to
explain how Joyce achieves this.
2. Stream of Consciousness is a technique used to reproduce the natural flow of thoughts
and emotions. It is not always logical, for thoughts tend to jump around in an arbitrary
manner, but it can be very convincing since it gives the reader apparent access to the
workings of a characters mind. Aim is to maintain a fuller understanding of human
experience by displaying subconscious associations along with conscious thought. 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
had told him a second time, he asked me did I know The Arabs Farewell to his Steed.
When I left the kitchen he was about the recite the opening lines of the piece to my aunt.
How is this an example of Stream of Consciousness? How does affect the story?
3. Irony in Araby often stems from the discrepancy between the narrators romantic
view of things and the way things really are. Find at least one example of this. (one-two
lines) What is the effect of the irony?
4. How would you describe the theme? A central theme is that childrens sudden
awareness that the adult world is not the place childhood dreams have made it. How does
this apply to Araby? Do you find this to be true in your own life? How so? Have you
ever had a moment of growing up immediately?
5. In a letter to a prospective editor for The Dubliners, Joyce wrote, My intention was to
write a chapter of the moral history of my country, and I chose Dublin for the scene
because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysisI have written it for the most part
in a style of scrupulous meanness and with the conviction that he is a very bold man who
dare to alter in the presentment, still more to deform, whatever he has seen and heard.
How is Joyces diction in Araby important? What do you think he means by
scrupulous meanness? Find an example in the text. Delicate balance between
sympathy and objectivity
6. At the end of the story, the narrator sees himself driven and derided by vanity. One
meaning of vanity is the state of being empty, idle valueless. Another meaning is
exaggerated self-love. Still another is hunger for praise or admiration. How could
all of these definitions apply? Which do you think is the best fit?
7. Religious imagery can be found throughout the story. Find as many examples as you
can. What do you think Joyce is saying about the church? How would you describe the
narrators feelings toward Ms sister as realistic or romantic? What are the broader
implications here? Other imagery: light and dark, motion and stillness, constraint and
freedom
8. Araby is told in first person. How would the story be changed if it were told in third
person?

9. Epiphany is the flash in which the essential nature of the person, an object, or a
moment is perceived, all at once. Joyce comments, its soul, its whatness leaps to us
from the vestment of its appearance. Find a line or two in Araby that you think
represent this for the narrator. Explain why and what it reveals about him. See notes!!!
In some ways Araby has nothing to say to us. Ours is not a culture of convent schools
and sexual repression, and we no longer rely upon the occasional Saturday night bazaar
for titillating entertainment. But in other ways, nothing much has changed. This story
has universal appeal because it speaks to the intense passion and awesome insecurity of
adolescence. The boy pursues his illusion (what does he expect will happen?) in the face
of great odds, but when he is successful and finally reaches Araby, the achievement slips
through his grasp. He realizes for the first time the unbridgeable chasm between desire
and reality. Barnes and Noble Commentary

James Joyce
1882-1941
He was born of a middle-class family in Dublin, Ireland. His father began to drink away
his money, lose positions, sink in the social order. One of ten children of an improvident
tax collector.
He found new ways to explore the daily lives and fragmentary dreams of characters
(including his own youthful self) in the parochial Dublin society he had fled.
Both were Jesuit schools and normal roads to priesthoodClongowes Wood College,
Belvedere College--, and provided a rigorous Catholic training against which Joyce
violently rebelled but which he was never able to forget. He was educated at a series of
Roman Cath schools, but by the time he entered University College, Dublin, he had lost
his faith.
When Joyces debts mounted, he persuaded Nora to leave Ireland with him; Joyce was
never to live in Ireland again.
That was his lifes workto write about Dublin in such a way that he was writing about
all of human experience.
For Joyce, there is nothing in the mind which does not enter through the senses. We
come to know the world through our senses. ExistentialistNeitche, Kirkegaard, Freud
His best known contribution to modern literature is the stream of consciousness technique
that attempts to reproduce the natural flow of thoughts and emotions. Stream of
consciousness writing (an attempt to portray the thinking mind directly, without
organizing the thoughts and without the intervention of the author.) does not always
seem logical, for thoughts tent to jump around in an arbitrary manner, but it can be very
convincing since it gives the reader apparent access to the workings of a characters
mind. The aimand it is a characteristically modernist aimis to obtain a fuller
understanding of human experience by displaying subconscious associations along with
conscious thought.
Dubliners is a book about human fate as well as a series of sketches of Dublin. Dubliners
was decried not only because of its frank language, hints of sexuality, and specific
references to contemporary Ireland, but also because of its bleak picture of Dublin as a
stagnant pond that smothered all life, a city in which dead people deceived themselves
into pretending they were alive, a city ruled by a repressive but moribund church. Stories
like Arabybrilliant examples of ironic realismfind intense significance in the
commonplace, with seeing overtones of myth and sacred reality in ordinary life.

Araby
The Dubliners
Central theme of The Dubliners is paralysis due to the effects of outside forces and
individual moral decay. I: Childhood, II: Adolescence, III: Maturity, IV: Public Life (not
merely a group of short stories structured according to stages of human
developmentsnapshots of Dublin life in Joyces timea novel of a citys development,
with its inhabitants growing from innocence to experience.
Joyce, in a letter to a prospective editor: My intention was to write a chapter of the
moral history of my country, and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to
me the centre of paralysis. I have tried to present it to the indifferent public under four of
its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity, and public life. The stories are arranged in
this order. I have written it for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness and with
the conviction that he is a very bold man who dare to alter in the presentment, still more
to deform, whatever he has seen and heard. What does he mean by scrupulous
meanness? Toward charactersbalances sympathy and objectivity.
The bazaar was called Araby, a reference to Arabia, where bazaarsmarkets with long
rows of stalls or shopsare common. For the children of Dublin, Arabia seemed a
mysterious, exotic place, very different from the dark, all-to-real streets of the dreary city
in which they lived.
A traditional story deals with some significant action, but Araby deals with a thwarted
action. The protagonist fails to reach the goal he has been struggling to achieve, and in
the end he is revealed to himself as the very opposite of the person he dreamed he was.
Araby is ironicboth in its form and in many of its details.
In Araby, almost all of the irony stems from the discrepancy between the narrators
romantic view of things and the way things really arean adolescent crush on someone
he does not actually know.
Worshipping Mangans sister is as much a religious act as an emotional one, and when
his romantic dreams are shattered, his disillusion is not just with love, but with all of his
spiritual values. Just as the aunt and uncle represent the reality of love, the reality of the
religious part of the narrators quest is represented by the dead priest and his rusty bicycle
pump.
The ideals of Irelands past and the reality of its present was the chief source of his irony.
Religious imagery: Priest, books, every morning, her name like a summons,
chalice, prayers, praises, adoration, harp, convent, fighting for their caps, her image
came between me and the page I strove to read, this night of our Lord, a silence like
that which pervades a church after a service, fall of the coins.

Epiphany (a moment of sudden insight or revelation experienced by a charactera


showing forth or revelationmoments of self-awareness or awareness to the true nature
of their environment): Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and
derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger. Who am I?
-adapting the religious term referring to the revelation of the infant Jesus to the Magi. It
is the flash in which the essential nature of a person, an object, or a moment is perceived,
all at once. Joyce says, its soul, its whatness leaps to us from the vestment of its
appearance. He often recorded his own epiphanies, and used it as a symbolic literary
technique to reveal the paralysis of the city as well as the faults and shortcomings of its
inhabitants.also as a structural device; rather than employing a traditional resolution.
Joyce ends his stories with the epiphany in the form of a speech, a gesture, or a
memorable phase of the mind itself because the readers revelation about the characters
condition satisfies Joyces purpose in writing the story.
Ezra Pound wrote that you could erase the local names, a few specifically local allusions,
and a few historic events of the past, and substitute other names, allusions, and events,
and these stories could be retold of any town. Is Pound right?
At the end of the story, the narrator sees himself driven and derided by vanity. One
meaning of vanity is the state of being empty, idle valueless. Another meaning is
exaggerated self-love. Still another is hunger for praise or admiration. How could
all of these definitions apply?
What role did religion play in Joyces Dublin? What effects has Catholicism had on the
Irish today and in Joyces time? What is Joyce saying about the church?
Song whose lyrics deal with realizations of the artist or a character the artist has created:
When he arrives at Araby, his romantic illusions are shattered as he becomes aware of the
pain and unfulfilled dreams of the adult world.
Write a one-two sentence summary of Araby.
Central theme in I: childrens sudden awareness that the adult world is not the place
childhood dreams have made it.
Joyces diction is extremely important to his writing style in Dubliners. Not only does
his word choice reflect the delicate balance of scrupulous meanness, Joyce is trying to
obtain, but his careful selection of words also underlines the images and themes Joyce
threads throughout the novel.
Images: light and dark, motion and stillness, constraint and freedom
Notes
Brown: hopeless and discouraging mood

The title holds the key to the meaning of Joyce's story. Araby is a romantic term for the
Middle East, but there is no such country. The word was popular throughout the
nineteenth century -- used to express the romantic view of the east that had been popular
since Napoleon's triumph over Egypt. And, of course, the story is about Romantic Irony,
for the unnamed boy has a romantic view of the world.
Charitable priesthypocrisy of religion
Mangan's sister: Joyce could count on readers making the connection with the popular,
but sentimental and romantic 19th century Irish poet, James Clarence Mangan (18031849). Mangan was himself fond of writing about "Araby," and even though he knew no
Arabic he claimed that some of his poems were translations from Arabic. Joyce's use of
"Mangan" is one of the strongest supports for the theme of romanticism in the story,
while at the same time it serves to strengthen previous instances of hypocrisy and false
sentiment.
come-all-you:
These were street songs that were sung not only on the streets but in pubs; they dealt with
current popular events and heroes. Jeremiah O'Donovan (1831-1915) was a revolutionary
who advocated the use of violence in the struggle against British rule (his nickname was
"Dynamite").
Freemason affair:
Freemasonry, primarily a Protestant organization, is feared and mistrusted by the Roman
Catholics of this time and place. The Aunt, by the way, is mistaken: the bazaar is a
benefit for a Roman Catholic Hospital. (Her error may be caused by the fact that a few
years earlier there was a bazaar sponsored by the Masons.)
Mrs Mercer:
Joyce selects this name to continue the imagery and theme of the mercantile and the
mercenary, in the story. This effect is further supported by making her the widow of a
pawnbroker, as well as the fact that she collects used stamps to sell for money to be given
to the church. Again, money is being associated with religion, as it was in the paragraph
in which the boy's shopping trip with his aunt is presented as a religious quest. The
ultimate irony at the conclusion of the story is that what the boy thought of as a holy
quest, to get a gift for the girl, was actually a sordid mercantile affair based on the sexual
rather than the spiritual.
The Arab's Farewell to his Steed:
"The Arab's Farewell to his Steed," by Caroline Norton (1808-77), was so popular that
Joyce could count on the association that the reader of Araby would (consciously or
unconsciously) make with the story he is reading: the Arab boy sells for gold coins the
thing that he loves the most in the world, his horse. However, as the horse is being led
away the boy changes his mind and rushes after the man to return to money and reclaim
his love. The final stanza reads:

Who said that I had given thee up? Who said that thou wast sold?
'T is false! 't is false! my Arab steed! I fling them back their gold!
Thus - thus, I leap upon thy back, and scatter the distant plains!
Away! who overtakes us now shall claim thee for his pains.
(A further irony here, that contributes to the theme of dishonesty and deception, concerns
the author of the poem. Caroline Norton had an affair with the British Home Secretary to
Ireland, Lord Melbourne, and her husband in a sense "sold her" to that diplomat by his
silent complicity in the arrangement for his own professional gain.)
Caf Chantant:
A French coffee house where entertainment is provided -- not exactly a high-class sort of
establishment.
a salver:
The plate on which sits the chalice that holds the wine for the mass; the term comes from
the fact that the plate served as a savior for spilled wine. Here, it provides a particularly
stark image of the mixing of money and religion.
I saw myself:
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 too little money for
the purchase of a gift, even if one were available, but most of all his own ego and selfdeception have defeated him in allowing him to think that his quest was a spiritual one.
A final accounting of the boy's financial standing proves ironic: he began with a florin
(two shillings, i.e., 24 pence). The round trip ticket to the fare cost four pence in 1894. He
spent one shilling (12 pence to enter the fair), he thus has eight pence left (the two and six
in his pocket), which is all he would have had to spend for a present in any case.
Perhaps 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, i.e., 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.
The Abbot, written in 1820, was about Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587). The novel
presented her life in a sincerely religious and romantic fashion, in contrast to the usual
picture of her as a "harlot queen" in history. The presence of this
romantic/religious/sexual complex is central to Joyce's story, as the boy confuses and
conflates Romantic Love, Religious Love and Materialist Love. As the story proceeds,
we find that he deceives himself about the sexual, spiritual, and the financial.

The Devout Communicant could refer to any one of three works with this title. The one
by the English Franciscan Friar Pacificus Baker (1695-1774) is noted for its lush, pious
language and could have influenced the boy's couching his sexual feelings for the girl in
pious images. William York Tindall, one of the pioneers of Joyce studies in the United
States, held that the work Joyce had in mind was one by Abednego Sellar, as the author's
name reinforces the materialistic themes of "Araby." Joyce's anti-clerical views also
support this choice, as Abednego was a Protestant clergyman -- as was James Ford, the
author of a third book by this title in print at the time. More important than specifically
identifying which work Joyce had in mind here is the fact of the influence of the devoutly
pious language of any of these works on the young boy's vocabulary and outlook.
The Memoirs of Vidocq, written by Francois-Jules Vidocq and published in 1829, was a
popular 19th century novel about a Parisian Police Commissioner who was also a thief,
and was thus able to hide his crimes (at one point in the novel, he escapes capture by
dressing as a nun). Joyce's use of the book here supports the theme of deception and
dishonesty in the story. But just as the reader is simultaneously aware of the meaning of
the mention of these novels, and that the boy does not understand these meanings, so the
theme of deception merely strengthens the sense that the boy is deceived about himself.
In some ways "Araby" has nothing to say to us. Ours is not a culture of convent schools
and sexual repression, and we no longer rely upon the occasional Saturday night bazaar
for titillating entertainment. But in other ways, nothing much has changed. This story has
universal appeal because it speaks to the intense passion and awesome insecurity of
adolescence. The boy pursues his illusion (what does he expect will happen?) in the face
of great odds, but when he is successful and finally reaches Araby, the achievement slips
through his grasp. He realizes for the first time the unbridgeable chasm between desire
and reality.
Innocence---experience
Allusions
How would describe his style?