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The theme that permeates through the story of Araby is that of Alienation and loneliness. The writer is a young man who is trapped in a world of despair and poverty where he cannot get what he desires. The writer describes Magnan’s sister vividly showing the deep desire he has for Magnan’s sister. The desire for Magnans’ sister is evident from the way the writer reacts when he and Magnans’ sister has a conversation. The narrators desire for Magnans’ sister is evident from his description of her physique. The writer describes to detail the physique of Magnans’ sister, which he does every morning. The writer is not the only one who is alienated and lonely, the priest in the story lived alone in a run down and untidy house. In the first line of the story, Joyce describes a building that stand alone detached from everything else perhaps to prepare the reader for the theme of alienation that is evident throughout the story. The romantic feeling he had for Magnan’s sister seemed to help him forget the frustration and drudgery of his daily life. When isolated in the dead priests’ cabin he went to his own ideal world where life was better. The description of the rain by the narrator depicts that when in isolation the writer created his own ideal world where everything was perfect. He was grateful for the dim lights because he could isolate himself from real life to his ideal world in the dark. The narrator cherished these thoughts so much that he held onto them until his hands trembled.
The narrators idea of Araby was that of an almost magical market filled with the splendor of an oriental market place. His desire to get Magnan’s sister a gift from the bazaar made him alienate himself even more. He looked down upon his friends who he begun to see as children and viewed himself as being better than they are. He preferred to remain indoors than to go outside and play with his classmates while previously he and his friends played outside until it was dark.
The narrators’ trip to the bazaar did not turn out as he had hoped it to be. Instead of the oriental market, he had imagined, there were English wares in its place. The narrator was frustrated, and he struggled to remember why he had even gone to the bazaar in the first place. As the lights of the bazaar went out, his frustration heightened into despair; and he did not see himself as a person anymore but as a creature. The narrator in his desperation alienates himself from a human being to a creature.
In the story, all the characters remain nameless this shows the frustration and despair that is ongoing in the lives of the characters. Magnan’s sister would wish to go to the bazaar but cannot and she can only rely on her imagination. The narrator is disappointed with the wares he finds in the market place, and he realizes that buying Magnans’ sister a gift would not make her love him. The writer gives up on the gift and returns home empty handed and frustrated. The characters in the story are all prisoners of routine. The narrator and his friends play in the streets and hide as the narrators’ uncle approaches and come out of the shadows only when Magnan’s sister call her brother; this happens every evening and give the narrator a chance to watch Magnan’s sister. Mrs. Mercer collected stamps for a reason that the narrator did not seem to understand; however she did this tirelessly for many years. The prison of routine is developed further by the narrators’ mastery of his uncles’ routine. The narrator could tell of his Uncles habits after he arrived home from work. This showed that the uncle had the same routine every time he came from work; thus, when the narrator asked for money the Uncle forgot because it did not fall in his routine activities.
A the writers feelings grow deeper and deeper for Magnans’ sister he alienates himself from his surroundings; every morning when he watches the young woman h does so in half drawn blinds so that no one else can see him. The narrator enjoys going back to the priests’ cabin to be alone with his thoughts; this goes to show how the romantic thought he had of Magnan’s sister pushed him into alienation and isolation.
The theme of poverty is also seen in throughout the story. From the way, he describes the streets the squalor of his residence is evident. The priest in the story had died of neglect in the back of his drawing room. The house in which he lived was littered with old newspapers, and the books he found in the dead priests hose were yellow with age. The writers’ description of the apple tree’s bushes as struggling and the priest’s bicycle as rusty goes to portray the theme of poverty.
The alienation of the narrator from the real makes him create his own ideal world. However, in the end the narrator is disappointed by his ideal world because he realized that his ideal world is nothing like the real world. In the real world, as the narrator comes to learn, in life there is a lot of disappointment and frustration. In the end, the narrator sees the danger that comes from idealization such as the loss of innocence.