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James Joyce (1882-1941)

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James Joyce (1882-1941). James Joyce: Introduction. James Joyce is one of the most innovative novelists of the 20 th century and one of the great masters of “the stream of consciousness”. a leading modernist, and one of the greatest innovators in the English language.

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James Joyce



James Joyce: Introduction

  • James Joyce is one of the most innovative novelists of the 20th century and one of the great masters of “the stream of consciousness”

a leading modernist, and one of the greatest innovators in the English language.

  • experimented with stream-of-consciousness, the underlying psychological as well as emotional motives of characters, and the various possibilities of fractured narrative and chronology.
  • his literary achievements and creativity are influential even today.
james joyce biography
James Joyce: Biography

Irish novelist and poet

born in 1882 in Dublin, the son of a poverty-stricken civil servant.

In 1898, studied in Dublin’s University College

and graduated in 1902

Raised in the Roman Catholic faith, he broke with the church while he was in college


In 1904 he left Dublin with Nora Barnacle, a chambermaid whom he eventually married. They and their two children lived in Trieste, Italy, in Paris, and in Zürich, Switzerland, meagerly supported by Joyce\'s jobs as a language instructor and by gifts from patrons. After 20 years in Paris, early in World War II, when the Germans invaded France, Joyce moved to Zürich, where he died on January 13, 1941

james joyce s work dubliners
James Joyce’s first major work was Dubliners, a collection of fifteen short stories dealing successively with events of childhood, youth and adulthood. As the title indicated, Joyce made Ireland the focus of his stories.James Joyce’s work---Dubliners

Although all set in Dublin and focused upon the themes of death, disease and paralysis throughout, Dubliners is a collection of short stories only interconnected by symbols and moods. They are not as bleak as their themes suggest, at least not in all cases, and are often heartening in their subtle evocations ofexperience common to all.

Dubliners is about people’s spiritual growth. All the characters in the stories struggle, in one way or another with oppressive morality, personal frustrations, or restless desires. They are ordinary people involved in various minor yet meaningful events in everyday life. Often, these characters are on the brink of discovering something, such as loss, shame, failure, or death .

These stories contain no melodramatic conflict; instead , they present those quiet moments in the characters’ lives when they come to a sudden realization of the meaning of their existence (anepiphany).


In Dubliners, James Joyce made use of epiphany to show the complex emotion. At the end of the stories, the heroes suddenly understood their predicament(窘境), and then realized the essence of life.


"Araby\'\' is one of fifteen short stories that together make up James Joyce\'s collection, Dubliners. It is the last story of the first set, and is told from the perspective of a boy just on the verge of adolescence. The story takes its title from a real festival which came to Dublin in 1894 when Joyce was twelve years old.


Araby is a story about a boy who wants to buy something for the angel in his heart . He looks forward to the coming of the bazaar.Unfortunately he misses the time for lack of money.He stands in the hall facing the brilliantly-light when he suddenly realizes he himself is only a pitiful creature.

1. The setting & the language
  • Let’s listen to the reading of the first three paragraphscarefully and see what kind of environment the boy is in.


North Richmond Street ,being blind ,was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brother’s School set the boys free.

The uninhabited house

  • An uninhabited house of two stories stood at the blind end ,detached from its neighbors in a square ground
The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them ,gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.


  • Air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms, and the waste room behind the kitchen was littered with old useless papers.
Among these I found a few paper-covered books :The Abbot ,by Walter Scott,The Devout Communicant and The Memoirs of Vidocq.

I like the last best because its leaves were yellow.



The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple—tree and a few straggling bushes .

He had been a very charitable priest; in his will he had left all his money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister.
When the short days of winter came dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinner.When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre.
  • The space of sky above us was the color of everchanging violet .

The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed.

  • Our shouts echoed in the silent street.
  • The career of our play brought us through the dark muddy lanes behind the houses where we ran the gantlet of the rough tribes from the cottages.

To the back doors of the dark dripping gardens where odors arose from the ashpits, to the dark odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse or shook music from the buckled harness

When we returned to the street light from the kitchen windows had filled the areas .
  • If my uncle was seen turning the corner we hid in the shadow until we had seen him safely housed.

Or if Mangan’s sister came out on the doorstep to call her brother in to his tea we watch her from our shadow peer up and down the street.


She was waiting for us, her figure defined by the light from the half-opened door.I stood by the railings looking at her. Her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side

1. The setting & the language


What kind of environment the boy is in?

2. The characters& the language
  • In the next three paragraphs, we get to see that the boy secretly loves an older girl who is Mangan\'s sister. How does he describe his feelings for her? Pay close attention to how Mangan\'s sister is presented in the third and the tenth paragraphs.

Joyce used no descriptive language to express his adoration to Mangan’s sister

  • Only narrated some actions of the boy
  • From these simple words , we not only can understand the boy’s mental and

true-life , but also can realize the

writer’s sympathy to this poor boy.

3. The plot 
  • When does the main action of the story start?  How does it change the narrator-boy?
4. The trip to Araby (the bazaar)
  • How is the bazaar presented at the end of the story (e.g. the dialogue between the woman and men, the image of darkness)? What does this description, again, tell us about the boy\'s world?
  • Examine the role money plays in the trip to the bazaar (paragraph 25 and 32).
I held a florin tightly in my hand as I strode down Buckingham Street towards the station.
The sight of the streets thronged with buyers and the glaring with gas recalled to me the purpose of my journey.
I took my seat in a third-class carriage of a deserted train. After an intolerable delay the train moved slowly
At Westland Row Station a crowd of people pressed to the carriage doors, but the porters moved them back.

Standing there , the young boy saw a young lady was flirting with two young men. This is very important to the change of the boy’s realization.

--O,I never said such a thing! --O,but you did!--O,but I didn’t!--Didn’t she say that?--Yes,I heard her.--O,there’s a…fib!
I turned away slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar.I allowed the two pennies to fall against the sixpence in my pocket.I heard a voice call from one end of the gallery that the light was out.The upper part of the hall was now completely dark .

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity;and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

Before now, he always had a dream that he would go to the Araby and buy a present for his loved girl, but the reality broke him up again. He felt so puzzled. At the same time, we can see through his eyes that he woke his spirit up and knew clearly his foolish behavior.

5. Theme
  • What do you make of the ending? The story is an initiation story, meaning that the boy experienced growth, or a rite of passage, from one stage of his life (e.g. childhood) to another (young adulthood). What do you think the boy has learned?
the boy\'s outlook is severely limited. He is ignorant and therefore innocent. Lonely, imaginative, and isolated, he lacks the understanding necessary for evaluation and perspective. He is at first as blind as his world, but Joyce prepares us for his eventual perceptive awakening by tempering his blindness with an unconscious rejection of the spiritual stagnation of his world.
The little boy considers Araby as a romantic and hopeful place. However, at that time, Dublin is a dark and dirty society, which is opposite to the little boy’s ideal. It is a very important place in this whole novel. Such a society indicates the failure of his pursuit of dream.
But the bazaar is dirty and disappointing.It is closing and the hall is "in darkness." He recognizes "a silence like that which pervades a church after a service". A young lady, bored with him and interested in two men who are flirting with her, cheapens and destroys the boy\'s sense of an "Eastern enchantment.“
  • His love, like his quest for a gift to draw the girl to him in an unfriendly world, ends with his realizing that his love existed only in his mind
In a sudden flash of insight the boy sees that his faith and his passion have been blind. In this moment of disillusionment he feels that he himself is at fault for being so bemused by his ideals that he failed completely to see the world as it is. Understandably his disillusionment causes him "anguish and anger."
"Araby" is a story of first love; even more, it is a portrait of a world that defies the ideal and the dream. Thus setting in this story becomes the true subject, embodying an atmosphere of spiritual paralysis against which a young boy\'s idealistic dreams are no match. He discovered the discrepancy between the real and the ideal in life.Realizing this, the boy takes his first step into adulthood.