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What is the theme of Araby by James Joyce?

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pdjordan | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:29 AM via web

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What is the theme of Araby by James Joyce?

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sensei918 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 13, 2012 at 4:55 AM (Answer #1)

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James Joyce's short story "Araby" contains more than one theme. Joyce's stories about his fellow Irish deal with complex ideas and emotions. He tends to re-visit several of the same themes in his collection Dubliners from which "Araby" is taken. As a Catholic, Joyce often uses the themes of religion and faith. In the case of the young hero of "Araby," faith is less religious than secular, and one of the strongest themes is loss of innocence. The young boy goes to the fair a child and ends up being closer to a man. This connects to another theme: that of betrayal, that, in turn, connects back to religion. The boy is betrayed by his religion, his own foolish ideas of love, and his trust in his fellow humans. I suppose one over-arching theme here is a young man coming of age and dealing with reality over fantasy.

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