The story Araby by James Joyce is a narration by a young boy who becomes obsessed with the love he has on a girl and goes to the market bazaar known as Araby to buy her an item but ends with the epiphany that he is never going to get the girl. The story is developed around many themes and highlights what happens in society today. One of the themes the story highlights is the human interactions from different angles. It shows how different factors affect social interactions in the community and their effect on the quality of life. In this paper, analysis of how economic status, the communication between family members, and race affect human relations have been done. Human relations have been developed in the story as a positive thing and, when effective, could solve many issues in the community.
In the setting of the society where the narrator lives, there was alienation due to the economic status of an individual or a family. When the narrator went to Araby, some entrances charged less and the ones that cost more. The ones that charged less were closed earlier than the ones that charged more and thereby making the rich in the society have more privilege. The lady at the stall selling porcelain vases and flowered tea-sets addressed the narrator in a tone that the narrator deemed to be not encouraging. She probably did this because she thought the narrator could not afford the items at her shop. This led the narrator to self-reflection, and he ended up losing the hope of being loved by Mangan’s sister. The effect of the economic status on human interactions is also displayed when the writer figuratively describes as “conscious of decent lives within them” and therefore “gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces” (Rokeya and Ahammed 143). On his journey, he even had to sit at the third-class courage of the train alone. This type of interaction, based on the economic status of an individual, is negative as it means that there is segregation between members of the community and may lead to discouragement among the younger ones.
Interaction between family members
In the story, the narrator shows the insensitivity of the uncle to his feelings. The narrator reports and even reminds the uncle of the program on Saturday, but the uncle forgets. He waited for him and almost lost hope of ever going to the market. Even after coming back late, the uncle still discouraged him from going and was not apologetic at first. If it were not for the uncle, the narrator would not have been allowed to go to the bazaar. The narrator also says that they would hide whenever they saw the uncle coming from afar while they were playing with his friends late in the evening (Safoura 418). This showed the gap that was there between the narrator and his uncle. The priest, in his will, left all the furniture he owned to his sister. This showed the strong bond and close interaction between the priest and his sister. The strong bond between the priest and his sister and the narrator and his aunt and her sensitivity is portrayed as an important aspect in the interaction and relationship between their family
Race and human interaction
The narrator suggests that the area they lived in was a setting with more than one race. This is seen when he goes to the market and meets with the woman at one of the few stalls that were still opened. The woman was having a nice and seemingly warm conversation with the two men that were with her until she saw the narrator. The narrator notices that all of them had an English accent from their talks. Her rather cold talk with the narrator could be seen as some of the reasons why the narrator chose not to buy her products. The narrator felt demeaned and worthless after their conversation. She sounded warm again on returning to converse with the men she was with and looked at the narrator occasionally in a way that made the narrator move from that point. The market itself seemed to be for a selected few as some locals who wanted to board the train to the bazaar were sent away with the assumption that they were not headed the same way. The other races would go to some other markets where the women would bargain. Interaction based on race is seen as demeaning to some while elevating others and should not be encouraged in the community.
Human interaction is a natural thing that every human should be entitled to. There are a lot of advantages to such interactions, especially when well managed. The communications should start from the family to friends and the whole community. In a strongly bound family, the members would be aware of what is going on in the lives of each other. If the family of the narrator had a stronger bond, they would have been in a position to understand the stage of development that the narrator was at and would have cared and advised him accordingly. Without strong relations, the priest would not have given up all his money to the institutions and given all his furniture to his sister. At the community level, the strong bond and good interactions would have led the lady at the stall to be more sensitive, seeing such a young boy at the bazaar that late and could have been concerned and helped him. It would have also seen the group who wanted to board the train treated better and not racially segregated as they were. Human interaction needs to be based on every member valuing the other for the community as a whole to benefit from its potentially huge benefits.
Rokeya, Ms, and AK Zunayet Ahammed. "A Shattering Epiphany in James Joyce’s “Araby." Advances in Language and Literary Studies 8.5 (2017): 140-144.
Eskandari, Safoura. "Language Discourse in James Joyce’s Short Stories The Grace and The Araby: A Cultural Studies." Budapest International Research and Critics in Linguistics and Education (BirLE) Journal 3.1 (2020): 411-420.
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