What are some good topics for an essay on James Joyce's story "Araby"? 

What are some good topics for an essay on James Joyce's story "Araby"?

 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

James Joyce's poignant story about a youth's romantic infatuation and delusions is almost a prototype for the other tales in The Dubliners. Certainly, it is a prime example of Joyce's employment of "epiphany" in his stories. It is also perceived by critics as an important step between the first two stories and subsequent ones in The Dubliners.

Here, then, are some ideas for topics with regard to "Araby":

  • Epiphany as a literary technique
  • Themes (see the link below)
  • "Araby" as a bridge between the first two stories and the ones after it
  • The interplay of point of view in "Araby." While the point of view is first person narrator, there are what have been called "multiple distances": first, there is the boy's perspective, then the older, maturing boy, and thirdly, there is the author's. 1) the child is unrealistic and emotional in his perspective; 2) the adult voice depicts the boy in a manner the boy would not comprehend; and 3) the author is able to insert subtly the issues of class, religion, romance, and emotions that extend beyond the first-person narrator. [This use of the authorial voice expands upon themes and sympathy for the boy.]
  • The role of religious imagery
  • Symbolism and literary illusions and their roles in the narrative

For more ideas, see the links below. There are numerous critical essays available. Good luck!