Araby is a story by James Joyce which takes place in Dublin in the late 1800's told to us in a first-person narrative point of view. It examines how a boy's infatuation with a girl is shattered when he sees what she is really like. The boy in "Araby", like Joyce as a youth, must begin to free himself from his dreams and see reality (Stone 375-410). This story uses many different devices to catch the reader's attention and interest. In order for this to work, Joyce uses many methods of fiction to get his point across.
From the very first paragraph the tone of the story is set. The way the boys are set free sounds like a prison even though it is not one, but they were "freed" into a world just as grim, a place where not even play brought pleasure.(Coulthard 1) Also the way he explains the houses as "brown with imperturbable faces" (Joyce 87) makes them seem drab and lifeless. This sets a somber dreary tone for the story. James Joyce carefully creates a plot with events and happenings throughout the story.
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The main plot involves how a young boy overcomes a crush on his friend's sister. The girl tells him about a bazaar which she cannot attend, and the boy volunteers to go and bring her something back. When he arrives there it is nothing like he expects it to be, and he loses his luster for the girl, realizing he is driven by the appearance of the girl.
The way the characters are characterized gives one insight into why the characters react or respond to events and surroundings in a certain way. The boy is characterized as living in a middle class neighborhood. His use of language "he bores his chalice safely through a throng of foes" indicates that he is a spiritual person (Foster 91-108). Strong characterization is revealed throughout the story through Joyce's choice and arrangement of his words.
In Araby the theme is extracted from all the major methods of fiction. The theme is basically the main idea of the story given by the author. James Joyce does a good job of giving one solid theme of the story through his very descriptive perceptions of life and society in middle class Dublin in the 1890's. Joyce's usage of the methods of fictional writing in the story of "Araby" makes it easier to interpret a young boy's blind love.