The Maturity of a Boy
Passion, adolescence, foolishness, and maturity are the first words that come to one’s mind to describe James Joyce’s short story, “Araby.” In it, he writes about a boy who falls deeply in love with his best friend’s sister, who through the story, doesn’t seem to notice him or care about him. The boy, who has yet to be named, lives in a poor and run-down town. During the story, certain characters contribute to the boy’s developing sense of maturity, and eventually, lead him into adulthood. Mangan’s sister, the boy’s uncle, the priest, and the girl at the bazaar all serve the purpose of molding the boy into a mature person.
Undoubtedly the main person who unknowingly helps the boy along the path of maturity is Mangan’s sister. She is the boy’s crush. Whenever he sees her, he follows her wherever she goes. This is strange because the boy admits to hardly ever speaking to her, and he does not know her name. He even pulls up the blinds so that he can watch her. These points show the boy’s immaturity, but such can be expected from a boy his age.
He thinks about Mangan’s sister and visualizes her image everywhere he goes. He idolizes her as an angel. She seems to become a symbol of what he is living for, and she gives meaning to his life. He shows that he is truly in love with her when he starts to talk with her and forgets what he says, which is because he is so caught up in the moment talking with her to think about what he is trying to say. The phrase “She asked me was I going to Araby. I forgot whether I answered yes or no.
“, best exemplifies these ideas. His immaturity shows in these scenes, but in the end, he finally realizes how immature he really has been by following this girl around. By saying that, we find out that the boy does not just realize his immaturity right away, it takes him a while to mature enough to figure this fact out on his own, and therefore, Mangan’s sister plays a major role in the development of the boy. Aside from the girl, there were also other people with a major impact on the boy’s maturing process.
Another one of the characters who aided the boy in the development of his maturity, was his uncle. The boy’s uncle is a symbol of the boy’s father figure.
The boy’s uncle always seems to be stressed with the difficulties of his life. He shows that he is stressed by the way that he comes home late and forgets things. When the uncle forgets that the boy wants to go to the bazaar, he does not sound like he cares about what the boy wants to do, but yet, he also is perceived to be very humble about these things. He exemplifies that he does not really care about what the boy wants when the boy tries to tell his uncle that he wants to go to the bazaar. All that the uncle does is get off of the topic and he begins to ask questions about “The Arab’s Farewell to His Steed.” The boy does not get angry though; he just walks away which shows he has developed maturity.
By coming home late to take the boy to the bazaar, the uncle again shows how he does not care about what the boy wants to do. Again, the boy is not perceived to be angry at this point. He is only described as not smiling. By acting that way, the boy sounds as though he is learning to cope with the various stresses of becoming an adult. As the boy gets older, he will not want to be like his uncle, and therefore, he will have matured in that sense. Other than the boy’s uncle, who is essential in the development of the boy, there is yet another character that is also just as important.
The priest also makes an impression on the development of the boy. Now, the priest has already died in the back drawing room of the boy’s .