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Show how 'Araby' is a truthful study of adolescent psychology.What are the things that...

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brishti08 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted March 14, 2010 at 1:43 AM via web

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Show how 'Araby' is a truthful study of adolescent psychology.

What are the things that adolescent boys do or feel generally and how are they reflected in the character of the boy in the story?

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 14, 2010 at 2:36 AM (Answer #1)

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Joyce's short story "Araby" features much more than just the typical behavior of early adolescents, but it does portray that as well.

The speaker in the story is a preteen or early adolescent boy who becomes infatuated with a friend's older sister.  He plays outside with other boys, hides from anyone who is calling them to come inside, needs to spend time alone once in awhile, and likes to look over books left in his house by the previous tenant.  These are normal behaviors for young adolescents.

He's obsessed with Mangan's sister, but terribly afraid that his feelings will be discovered:  he peaks out of the bottom of a window shade every morning so he can see when she leaves for school, then leaves immediately after she does so he can follow her to school. 

I suggest that these are all normal behaviors for a boy his age. 

The element that the story is most famous for, however, deals with the boy's epiphany, during which he realizes that his view of Mangan's sister and his "relationship" with her, using the term loosely, is idealistic, and he realizes his conversation with her, during which he promised to buy her a gift at the bazaar, was trivial.  This epiphany may or may not be typical early adolescent behavior.  I tend to see it as age appropriate for an older person.  In fact, many people lead their entire lives without discovering their illusions and trivialities.  I'm not sure most early adolescents are capable of this kind of insight.

Therefore, "Araby" certainly contains much that is psychologically fitting for a boy the narrator's age, but I'm not sure you could say that about the epiphany.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted March 14, 2010 at 7:34 AM (Answer #2)

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In the short story "Araby" by James Joyce, the author depicts a boy on the verge of starting to become a man, still with a child's simplified view on life yet working his way forward to viewing life and women as a grown man. James Joyce presents many traits of teenagers in this lad - impatience (desperation to get out of the house before the bazaar shuts) illusion (seeing the girl as a sacred and special being, and putting her on an impossible pedestal) impulsiveness (his rash promise to buy her a gift and dashing off to get it (moodiness (his elation one minute and depression with his epiphany/disappointment the next) and his confusion (the adults demeanour/gift display at the bazaar.)

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