What is life like in Ireland for “Eveline” and the boy in “Araby”? Think about their class/social position. Think about how the people around them treat them. Think about their frustrations...

What is life like in Ireland for “Eveline” and the boy in “Araby”? Think about their class/social position. Think about how the people around them treat them. Think about their frustrations and their dreams and possible futures.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oh, ....The short stories "Araby" and "Eveline" are from James Joyce's "stages of man" work, Dubliners. Occupied by the British, the Protestant minority that was the ruling elite, Joyce perceived Dublin as the center of Irish paralysis, the frustrating awareness of the Irish people's powerlessness to do anything about their situations, along with their religious servility.  The characters of "Araby" and "Eveline" both dwell in little brown houses that harbor gloom and despair over which a dominating Catholicism casts its shadows; they are the adolescents of the stages of life in Dubliners, adolescents who dream of what is not real, disillusioned youths and failures. With his eyes burning with "anguish and anger," and her cry of anguish that falls upon the sea, the boy of "Araby" and Eveline, then, fall into the lower-middle-class-desperation of the crowded streets of the city.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many relevant comments on this topic can be found by going to Google Books and searching for "Eveline and Araby."  By searching for the titles of the two stories side-by-side one is likely to find sources that compare and contrast the two works. Here is what I found when I did such a search:


I thought it would be interesting what would happen if I searched for "social class in Eveline and Araby."  Here are the search results:


Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Araby," an interesting cultural element is revealed. School students seem to have attended school on Saturday:

On Saturday morning I reminded my uncle that I wished to go to the bazaarI left the house in bad humour and walked slowly towards the school.

Additionally, schoolboys seem to be ignored in shopping districts, if the behavior of the sealesgirl at the bazar may be taken as a generalized illustration:

the young lady came over and asked me did I wish to buy anything. The tone of her voice was not encouraging; she seemed to have spoken to me out of a sense of duty.

This rather contrasts with today when the teenage dollar comprises a large and mighty demographic.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let us remember that the poverty experienced by Ireland impacted these two characters as well, and both short stories give us revealing descriptions of the drab and enclosed lives that both are trapped in. Whether it is the dead-end street of the boy in "Araby" or the claustraphobia experienced by Eveline, it is clear that both characters lead lives that are profoundly limited in terms of opportunity and escape.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Both the boy and Eveline are outsiders watching regular society pass them by. Both feel abused (or are abused) and frustrated with their social standing. Their social standing prevents them from being able to participate in the life they want for themselves.