How is the setting of James Joyce's story "Araby" related to the boy's state of mind?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The boy's home is on a "quiet street" where the houses all have "brown imperturbable faces." The air inside is "musty," and one room is "littered with old useless papers." A priest, the previous tenant of the narrator's home, had died there. The backyard contains a "wild garden" with a "central apple-tree" with a "few straggling bushes" and some rusty junk. Dusk falls early, and the days are short, because it is winter.

The setting forms a really dark and somber backdrop to the boy's state of mind: he seems to focus on light much more than darkness, perhaps because there is so little light around him. He notices that Mangan's sister's figure is "defined by the light from the half-opened door." Thoughts of her make him cry, pray, and feel as though his body is a musical instrument that only she can play. When she finally talks to him, the "light from the lamp [...] caught the white curve of her neck, lit up her hair that rested there and, falling, lit up the hand upon the railing." On...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 818 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on