Internal Conflict In James Joyce's Araby

1305 Words6 Pages
Like the narrator of “The Sisters,” the narrator of “Araby” falls victim to self-turmoil; however, this turmoil results from the narrator’s romantic pursuit. The narrator’s initial behavior, playing with the other kids in his neighborhood, would suggest a life unencumbered by internal conflict (Joyce 19). Through introducing the narrator as a seemingly normal child, Joyce challenges the paradigm established in “The Sisters” of the necessity of a decision of which others disapprove in creating internal conflict. Rather, to the narrator, enraptured by the image of Mangan’s sister, “her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood” (Joyce 20). Joyce critiques the youthful infatuation of the narrator by describing his desire to interact with…show more content…
In the narrator’s life, he cannot fulfill his pursuit of Mangan’s sister without the help of his uncle, despite hiding from him during play with the other children (Joyce 20). Joyce refuses to allow the narrator the freedom to create his own destiny, but rather places the narrator’s uncle, ignorant of the narrator’s true purpose, into a position of absolute authority. The uncle’s indifference to the narrator’s mission serves to undermine the importance of the mission and justify the narrator’s push toward self-reliance. Although the narrator does not possess the ability to make the journey to the bazaar himself, he “walk[s] up and down the room, clenching [his] fists” and, upon engaging with his only method of pursuit, “did not smile” (Joyce 23). The narrator does not and cannot execute his romantic pursuit without the assistance of his uncle yet behaves in such a way as to suggest that his actions can influence his outcome. Through limiting the freedom of the narrator, Joyce reminds the audience that, although capable of creating a plan, the narrator cannot bring the plan to fruition, heightening the narrator’s sense of solitude. While waiting for his uncle to provide the means to attend the bazaar, the narrator notices “[his] companions playing below in the street. Their cries reached me…show more content…
One can see in “Araby” the Catholic middle class, to which Joyce belonged, represented by the narrator, driven by the all-consuming focus on home rule and freedom from England. “The Sisters” suggests Joyce’s criticism of the Catholic Church, that it places a burden on the people of Ireland, as the priest’s death allows for the narrator to freely think on the relationship with Father Flynn. Joyce’s ill-defined narrators of “The Sisters” and “Araby” represent the Irish people and their struggle against external oppression and internal confusion. The internal conflict and epiphany create a state in which one allow for Joyce to extol the virtue of removing dogma of all kinds from
Open Document