What literary devices are used in "Araby"?

Literary devices used in "Araby" include a subjective point-of-view, symbolism, irony, personification, and imagery. These devices enrich the story's narration, plot, setting, style, and themes.

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In "Araby," Joyce uses the literary device of a subjective point of view, a technique favored among modernist writers. Readers experience the story entirely through the sensations and thoughts of the narrator.

Joyce also uses symbolism, another favored technique of the modernists. For instance, the color brown in...

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In "Araby," Joyce uses the literary device of a subjective point of view, a technique favored among modernist writers. Readers experience the story entirely through the sensations and thoughts of the narrator.

Joyce also uses symbolism, another favored technique of the modernists. For instance, the color brown in the story symbolizes the dull conventionality of Irish life. The houses on the alley in which the narrator lives are described as brown. Notably, too, Mangan's sister, the girl the narrator fancies, is twice associated with brown. In this way, Joyce brings in the literary device of irony, which is when words or events in a story are presented in a way that opposes reality or expectations. It is somewhat ironic that the narrator imagines the girl as an idealized figure, an escape from everything dull and ordinary in Dublin, while the story hints that she a completely commonplace Irish girl.

The story uses the literary device of personification as well. The houses in the boy's alley, for example, are described as if they are people gazing out with "brown, imperturbable faces."

Imagery—description using any the fives senses—helps set the tone of story. For example, the narrator has moved into a house once lived in by a priest, filled with old, useless papers and other signs of former occupation:

The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple-tree and a few straggling bushes, under one of which I found the late tenant's rusty bicycle-pump.

These details show that the traces of the past permeate the narrator's life, highlighting the theme that Irish culture is shaped—and perhaps trapped—by its past.

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