Short Fiction

Araby

“Araby” is the third entry in James Joyce’s 1914 collection of short stories, Dubliners. Critics have thematically separated Dubliners into three sections—childhood, adolescence, and adulthood—and “Araby” falls under the first of these. In it, a young boy falls in love with a girl and vows to buy her a gift at the eponymous local bazaar to prove his love for her. But “Araby” isn’t so much a love story as it is a bleak look at the loss of childhood innocence and the stifling nature of religion. The narrator has romantic ideas about love, yet cannot completely understand his emotions outside the context of his religious education, which does not necessarily make room for ideas of romance in its teachings. Joyce was influenced by his Catholic upbringing in Ireland to paint a portrait of childhood disillusionment and the futility of romance in a strictly religious society.

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