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Imagery Analysis

North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers' School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground. The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.

The former tenant of our house, a priest, had died in the back drawing-room. 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 pages of which were curled and damp: The Abbot, by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant, and The Memoirs of Vidocq. I liked the last best because its leaves were yellow. The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple-tree and a few straggling bushes, under one of which I found the late tenant's rusty bicycle-pump. 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 dinners. When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of sky above us was the colour of ever-changing violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts echoed in the silent street.
Araby by James Joyce "Dubliners"
Imagery Analysis

Certain that Dublin was a center of spiritual paralysis, James Joyce unite together histories in Dubliners by their setting. Each of the stories in the “Dubliners” consists of a way Dublin dehumanizes the way of life. The boy in the story “Araby” is exposed to the city's dark, fruitless conventionality, and his need for escape is what forms the central idea of the story. At first glimpse it is a story about a boy's first love but as one looks deeper into the story is evident that it is about the world in which he lives, a world opposed to dreams. This deeper level is introduced and developed through the use of imagery.

To commence, North Richmond Street is first described in order to presents the reader with his first view into the boy’s life. The street is described as “blind,” as a dead end, but those who live there are ironically satisfied, this is seen by the descriptions of the houses as “imperturbable” in the “quiet,” the ” “cold,” the “dark muddy lanes” and with “dark dripping gardens.” The people who live there are not affected, but deeply self-satisfied. The atmosphere of blindness extends from a general imagery of the street and the people to the boy's personal relationships. The boy waits well into the evening in the "imperturbable" house with its musty smell and old, useless objects that fill the rooms. This demonstrates that the house is like the aunt and uncle, and everyone else around who are good people but have strict values. In addition, the second use of imagery is when describing the death of the priest and his belongings whish show sings of a more essential past. The imagery of the bicycle pump rusting in the back yard and the old yellow books show what was once the priest’s life, a life in which he was actively participating in the service of God and man.

Furthermore, this imagery emphasizes the paralyzed world in which the boy is now living. The priest is dead, the pump rusted and the books yellow, the exiting past is over. Even with this atmosphere of paralysis the boy still holds on, with unparallel hopes, his encounter with first love. Regardless of the cruel reality of “drunken men and bargaining women” the boy carries his aunt's groceries imagining that he is holding, a "chalice through a throng of foes" showing the difference between him and everyone else. Due to this deference and great imagination, he converts in his mind a regular girl into a princess. The difference between the real world and the boy's dreams is shows his inability to see life therefore being as blind after all as everyone else.

Thus, the boy's final dissatisfaction happens as he realizes how the world around him truly is. He is separated from his blindness and is alone in the realization that life and love are not what he dreamed. "Araby" is not just a story of first love, it is the image of a world that does not fit the dreams of those who live in it. Imagery in the story is what brings forth the mood of paralysis, and the contrast between life and the boy’s dream. At the end as he is finally able to understand this, he takes his first step into manhood.

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