Learning From Lit: Araby and Self-Love

I love being a Literacy Studies major because I get to take the most fascinating English and writing classes. This week in my English class, we read James Joyce’s Araby. If you are not familiar with James Joyce, he is an Irish writer from the 20th century that I highly encourage you to check out. After reading this, I had the shocking realization that this short story applies so much to people and we can all learn a few lessons from Araby.

You should definitely read the short story, but here is a quick summary: Araby is a coming of age story about a young boy who grows up in a dull town and has a sullen and boring life. Then, he becomes captivated by a girl in his town. She mentions to him that she wants to go to a bazaar in town, called Araby, but she can’t go. He tells her he will go and get her something. As enchanted as he is by the girl, he is also very fascinated by this place. After some obstacles, he gets to Araby and is disappointed. The bazaar is about to close and the people there were mean. It was not the wonderful place he pictured it being. The story ends with the lines “gazing up in the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.”

When I first read this story, I thought it was dumb. After thinking about the message, this totally applies to the dating life. How many times were you literally put under a spell of someone that probably couldn’t care less about you? How many times did you go out of your way to do something that your crush mentioned liking just so you could impress them? Furthermore, after giving so much to them, did they deeply disappoint you in some kind of way? Learn from this boy and don’t fall for the enchantment we play up in our heads over love! When you read Araby, realize that we must find the light in ourselves, not in SOs. And don’t let your life revolve around someone who is practically clueless about you.