Understanding the forms of a work of literature helps a reader to grasp the message that the writer intends to impart. There are recognizable forms, essentially prose, poetry and plays made for the stage, and each of these forms and their subdivisions give a work its structure. Araby by James Joyce is written in prose and is part of The Dubliners' collection of short stories, all of which expose some aspect of life for the average, working class family living in Dublin in the early twentieth century.
Rhiannamw (the educator above) explores some interesting aspects of Araby and its forms. It, and the other stories in the collection, has purposefully been written in this form (as a short story) for maximum impact, allowing the reader to focus on its own tale and therefore connect with the main character, giving the story an honesty, and although this series is a work of fiction, (a subdivision of prose) the reader easily recognizes the connection with many of Joyce's own experiences. The simplicity of the language and the first person narrative form in Araby allow the reader to be transported to Joyce's era and to make the connection to the real-life aspects of Joyce's seemingly anecdotal stories.
At the time of publication, Joyce was heavily criticized for the content of all the stories because they are pessimistic and the reader does not get to follow each story to its conclusion so the pessimism endures. In Araby, the reader wants the boy to succeed, to realize his romantic dreams of Mangan’s sister, but because his “eyes burned with anguish and anger,” it seems unlikely that he will recover sufficiently to pursue her. His epiphany or realization that life is harsh may be more than he can bear at this young age, preventing him from chasing his vision of perfection, Mangan’s sister. However, the reader will never know. This form of prose emphasizes the point that Joyce is trying to make and allows for interpretation by the reader, making it a very personal experience.