Araby by James Joyce Sept. 13, 2016
Born from Darkness
The impact of the North Richmond Street setting was very deliberate. It opens and closes in dark settings. Araby is a first person narrative. This short story opens up as a quiet street that has very little human interaction. The skies above have grown violet with the dusk and the start of winter and the days are growing shorter. The continued darkness of North Richmond St replays the view of the boys dreams and the failure that follows. It is always about darkness and frustration.
The house in which the ‘narrator’ lives was once occupied by a priest. The priest died in the back drawing room. He thinks about the priest who died in the house before his family moved in and the games that he and his friends played in the street. He recalls how they would run through the dark muddy lanes of the houses. How they would all hide in the shadows when they reached the street again. Always hoping to avoid the people in the neighborhood.
The whole house in fact is dark and gloomy; as is North Richmond Street. The uninhibited houses that stand on this street are all quiet. The only form of noise comes when the Christian Brothers’ School was released. The boys seem to be the only color that North Richmond St seems to enjoy. However, when the boys meet again after eating their supper the streets have grown somber and colorless. The boy feels disgust for his simple life and he is bored with the lack of excitement on North Richmond St. The boy is somewhat introverted fumbling toward adulthood with little in the way of guidance from his family or community. Joyce uses negativity to represent this. Joyce writes, “The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces” (90). It seems that the boy is in constant darkness. He lives in the dark, he plays in the dark and he hides in the dark; all on North Richmond St....