Araby Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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In what passages in James Joyce's "Araby" can one see how dialectical materialism corresponds with Bakhtinian theories of polyphony and carnivalesque?

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"Araby" is a story about a boy’s first brush with desire. He has a crush on a girl. When she notices him and speaks to him, she asks if he is going to Araby, the local bazaar; the boy, seeking to impress her, says he is and promises to bring her something from the fair. His desperation to get to the fair has less to do with getting a present and everything to do with proving his devotion and maturity. He wants to be an adult, and love this girl like an adult. When he gets to the fair, it is not what he had expected; he is so put off by the manner of the one shopkeeper who is still open that he decides to buy nothing.

It might seem odd to try to pin grandiose terms like “dialectical materialism” and “dialogism” to such a slim slice of life, but it can be useful to think about the story in these ways to understand what forces are at play. Dialectical materialism—the assertion that thought or consciousness is the product of labor—underpins the boy's deterministic...

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