Critical Analysis of a Short Story
James Joyce 's Araby ' is a story short in length , but long in impact The unnamed narrator in the story is on the verge of some great discovery , betwixt and between childhood and the world of adults . The playmates with which he interacts , the aunt and uncle that hold dominion over him , and the crush he develops on the pretty sister of a friend are all described through his eyes . While he describes the action , he does so in a wisdom that seems beyond his years , being idealist and innocent and at the
same time knowledgeable and jaded . Though the journey the protagonist makes is real , simple , and common , the way the journey is portrayed makes it verge on the mythic and the main character garners many heroic attributes in the tradition of Joseph Campbell 's monomyth
American writer Joseph Campbell was well known not only for his defining of the hero and the hero 's journey , but also his appreciation and admiration for the work of James Joyce . In the work of Joyce , he saw many of the critical elements that comprised the hero 's journey or the monomyth , which added impact to an otherwise simple coming-of-age story . Instead of being just a simple trip to the bazaar , the protagonist of Joyce 's Araby ' is forced to endure many of the trials and events that befall all heroes . Campbell helped define what makes a hero in his 1949 book The Hero with a Thousand Faces , by stating : A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder : fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won : the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man (30 . In other words , Joyce 's protagonist in Araby ' has enacted multiple parts of the mythic initiation of the hero-redeemer , who , according to Campbell , undergoes separation , initiation , and returns with a boon for his people . According to Martha Fodaski Black , In `Araby ' the boy separates himself from the other Dubliners , undergoing the trials and tests of the often hostile environment of the Dublin streets at night the main character has his moment of ironic enlightenment at the bazaar .although the boy does not return to his people , the story is itself the boon that Joyce brought to the Irish (129 . Even despite not fitting Campbell 's definition of the hero 's journey to the letter there remain many aspects of it that are too glaring to ignore
The narrator in Araby ' personifies youthful idealism , fantasy , and confusion , which at first seems to negate the status as a hero embarking on a hero 's journey . However , when viewed through the eyes of Campbell the trip to the bazaar for the young man , as well as the overwhelming desire that precedes it , are parts of the hero 's journey . The call to adventure is put forth by Mangan 's sister , who originally places the idea into the head of...