Portrayal first confrontation with her and is asked
Portrayal of Light and Darkness in James Joyce’s “Araby” In James’ story “Araby” the narrator creates an image in the reader’s mind of a dark and dull world where he spends his days playing and becoming infatuated with a friend’s sister.
He portrays to us a dull background in order to shows us the “light” in his world of darkness. As the narrator starts his story off he paints a world that is dark by using such words as: blind, uninhabited, and detached. These words give the reader a sense of darkness and solidarity in the story.It seems that the main character in the story sees darkness and disappointment all around him, aside from when he sees the girl he is infatuated with, at these times he sees her as light in his world of utter darkness and despair. As the story progresses the boy sees his friend’s sister on three separate accounts.
The first time he describes her as so, “She was waiting for us, her figure defined by the light of the half-opened door ” (Araby 346). With this we see the first sign of light in his story. In fact, every time the girl is brought up in the story it seems that she is followed by light.The narrator seems to hold the girl in very high reverence, almost portraying her as the only light in his life.
His tone changes when talking about Mangan’s sister and seems to have a bit of hope in his tone when thinking of her. This is something that he cant stop doing either; work, school chores they all seem like monotonous jobs to him that he does not want to waste his time with when he could be thinking of her. When the boy has his first confrontation with her and is asked whether or nor he will be going to Araby, the bazaar, he shows us again another instance in which he sees the girl and light is upon her. The light from the lamp opposite our door caught the white curve of her neck, lit up her hair that rested there….
” (Araby, 347). This once again shows that the boy has a fixation of portraying his “desire” in a celestial position, he reveres Mangan’s sister. After this confrontation the narrator becomes anxious and impatient in his daily activities, trying to pass the time by thinking of her and when he will go to the bazaar. The way the narrator portrays his surroundings makes it seem as though he lives in a very dull and unexciting place.In many scenes it’s as though the narrator like to stay in the dark because of his thoughts towards this secret love he has. For instance when he was in the back drawing room one rainy evening the thoughts he had of the light being distant and below, he preferred it that way.
Perhaps he was ashamed of the thoughts he had in his head and thus always seems to portray himself in a dark setting; only mentioning light when it was in the presence of her. In the end of the story the boy is not able to get the desired present for Mangan’s sister and he is once again surrounded by darkness looking away with anger and frustration in his mind. Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger” (Araby, 349).
In this last statement of the story the narrator realizes that all he has done has been in vain. He was angered because he spent all week anxiously waiting for the bazaar and getting the gift for Mangan’s sister. The fact that he put so much thought into it and when the day finally came it was an upset.
His uncle made it home late thus causing him to be late for the bazaar; by the time he got there it was almost over.Only a few shops were still open and the lights were almost out. He was angered with himself for wasting his time and thoughts on something and he realized, in the end, that he had no real chance. In his communications with Mangan’s sister he did not know what to say and seeing how the men at the bazaar were talking with the woman merchant so easily he felt even more angry at his-self for thinking he was really going to win over Mangan’s sister with just a present.
He is once again in a darkness showing that the narrator is ashamed and angered. The narrator ends the story just as he started, in darkness.How light and darkness is portrayed in this story of a young boy, who believes he is in love with a girl, is meant to help us see that the boy is blindly naive by his emotions. How he sees his house and the neighborhood, always in dark settings, is an example of this. Dark settings in this story help the reader through the story and give you a sense that this story is not going to have a happy ending. The only time he mentions and describes light is when he sees Mangan’s sister.
These contrasting portrayals within the story are meant to help show how disillusioned and naive the boy really is when it comes to matters of the heart.