The Devil Is in the Detail - Joyce's Araby Essay

960 WordsMay 31, 20134 Pages
The Devil Is In the Detail – Araby by James Joyce Agnes Larsson Group 8, LS The descriptions in Araby create not only different moods and vivid images of time and place, but an understanding of essential parts of the story. In the very first sentences of the story, the reader is thrown into, not necessarily the action, but the mood-creating descriptions of North Richmond Street where most of the plot takes place. The author repeatedly uses personification of the houses of the street to create the right mood. In the very first paragraph of the short story, the personifications of the houses further emphasize, in an implicit way, how quiet the street is: “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”¹ (p.503, my emphasis). Further down the first page is another personification which, not only brings up the quietness of the street again, but introduces the use of adjectives depicting darkness: “When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. [...] Our shouts echoed in the silent street” (p.503-504, my emphasis). Araby is full of adjectives and synonyms of words like dark (see the sombre in the quote above), cold, rain and dirt which recur in the descriptions of the streets and life there. It is winter and dark, rains a lot and is cold but that is not the only explanation of the use of so many cold, wet and gloomy words. Joyce seems to describe the weather and streets by phrases such as “dark dripping gardens”, “dark muddy lanes” and “pitilessly raw air” to create the impression of a poor and miserable life of plain Irish people. This is clearly seen in the text when the boys are out playing in the streets in the dark evening: “The career of our play

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