Here is the answer and explanation to the question Where does James Joyce use figurative language to emphasize the importance of place and geography in “Araby”? How do these scenes lead us to the…
Where does James Joyce use figurative language to emphasize the importance of place and geography in “Araby”? How do these scenes lead us to the narrator’s epiphany?
In “Araby,” James Joyce uses plenty of figurative language to emphasize the story’s setting and give us clues about the narrator, his naivety, and his eventual epiphany. Let’s look at a few examples to get you started on this assignment.
Turn to the story’s first paragraph, and notice the personification of the houses. This sets the stage for the story, and the narrator explores one house in his curiosity and his isolation.
Now look at the personification and vivid imagery in the third paragraph. Think about how it reflects the narrator’s interest in Mangan’s sister. The fifth paragraph contains an interesting metaphor: the “shrill litanies of the shop-boys.” Litanies are typically associated with religion, so consider what this tells us about the values of the people around the narrator and how they contrast (or perhaps not) with his romantic obsession. The narrator also says that his body is “like a harp” played quite skillfully by the girl he is interested in; this musical simile emphasizes his naivety.
Notice as the story progresses that the narrator begins to be distracted at school and says that everything that comes between him and the girl (or at least his desire for her) is “ugly monotonous child’s play.” That is certainly a vivid metaphor that show how far the boy has sunk into his obsession.
The narrator’s uncle forgets his promise to take the boy to Araby. As the boy leaves the house, the uncle is about to recite “The Arab’s Farewell to His Steed.” Here we have an allusion. Look up the poem, and see if you can figure out why the author chooses to insert the allusion in this spot.
When the narrator gets to the bazaar, it is almost closing time, and most of it is dark. There is “a silence like that which pervades a church after a service.” This is an interesting simile that shows the atmosphere in which the narrator begins to grasp an important reality.
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