Analysis

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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. This paragraph is found in the middle of James Joyce’s short story “Araby.” The narrator, a young boy, has just spoken for the first time to “Mangan’s sister.” An extremely brief conversation, during which the boy promises to bring something for the girl from the bazaar, is charged with significance for the boy. The significance has been proven to be false. The author introduces many contrasts in this paragraph that underlay the protagonist’s loss of innocence. Although the story is narrated in the first person, from the perspective of the young boy, the language in this paragraph is not that of a young boy, and contradicts the confusion he claims to experience when Mangan’s sister first speaks to him. Having promised a gift to the girl, the narrator’s obsession with her intensifies and he experiences all of the impatience of youth as he endures the days before the bazaar. His description of these days however, is highly stylized, and present ed in language that hints his immaturity.

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