51 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2017
    1. Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

      James Joyce is known for is his use of epiphanies: "a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself" (Stone 371).

      The last line of "Araby" can be seen as the boy's epiphany. Leading up to this moment, Mangan's sister has consumed his mind, and he thought buying something for her from Araby would solve everything. Now that he finally made it to the bazaar, he is utterly disappointed.

      There are many interpretations about what the boy's epiphany actually is. Some scholars posit that the he relates to the men flirting with the sales woman: "The boy looks steadily at this vulgar avatar of his longings; and then his other vision—his vision of a comely waiting presence, of a heavenly dolorous lady—dissolves and finally evaporates. The boy, at last, glimpses reality unadorned; he no longer deceives himself with his usual romanticizing" (Stone 371). He is ultimately just like those two men, and Mangan's sister is just another girl.

      Another possible interpretation is that the boy's realization is a greater metaphor for the deterioration of Ireland's identity. He sees the French "Café Chantant". Moreover, while eavesdropping on the lady and the two men, the boy "remarked their English accents". Perhaps Ireland is not so Irish anymore.

      Yet another meaning could be that the boy is no longer a boy; he has transitioned out of the magical and imaginative world of being a child. The story begins with the boy telling us how he and his friends, "played till our bodies glowed". He then stops playing with his friends because he is infatuated with Mangan's sister: "From the front window I saw my companions playing below in the street". After he hears about Araby the boy has "hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play". His whole outlook on life has rapidly changed. In an essay titled "Closing Time: 'ten minutes to ten' and the End of Childhood in Joyce's Araby'", Steven Doloff notes that the boy arrives at the bazaar at "ten minutes to ten": "While clock hands regularly meet twenty-four times during the course of a day, their particular occurrence at 9:50 P.M. at the end of 'Araby' may have a special contextual significance. Their juncture immediately precedes the boy's anguished self-revelation and what appears to be the near-simultaneous closing of the bazaar at ten o'clock. If we choose to see the longer minute hand of the clock as representing adulthood and the shorter one childhood, then 'ten minutes to ten' would symbolically portend the moment that adulthood overtakes the boy's childhood, eclipses it, and begins to leave it behind—a simple visual icon for a widely acknowledged theme in the story".

      These are just a few of many interpretations of the ending. Ezra Pound wrote that Joyce's "most engaging merit, is that he carefully avoids telling you a lot that you don't want to know".

      sources: http://web.b.ebscohost.com.jpllnet.sfsu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=cb6a19bc-74ce-46ea-a40d-117795dd7dfb%40sessionmgr104



    2. handing a shilling to a weary-looking man. I found myself in a big hall girdled at half its height by a gallery. Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall was in darkness.

      There is a stark contrast to his previous trip to the market:

      "I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes."

    3. her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.

      The boy/narrator is obviously in love, yet he never says the girl's name. She is initially introduced as "Mangan's sister", and afterwards she is only mentioned by pronouns. An essay by Richard J. Gerber, titled "Joyce's 'Araby' and the Mystery of Mangan's Sister", explores the varying views on the significance of omitting her name:

      • William Bysshe Stein describes "the young boy’s adoration of Mangan’s sister, and his reluctance to speak her name, as a form of religious devotion: 'This awe and reverence literally manifest an impulse toward deification". Judaic tradition states that God's name, Yahveh, was so holy "'that it was sacrilege...to pronounce it'".

      • Ben L. Collins believes that Joyce is making a joke about Jesus Christ. He "cites Joyce’s well-known allusion to Irish poet James Clarence Mangan (and his poems about love, religion, and nationality)...[Collins] concludes that 'The role of Mangan’s sister as deity is made known, if it cannot establish itself in any other way, comically, for one little knows Joyce who feels he is unaware of or incapable of using Mangan’s initials—J. C.'" In other words, J. C. Mangan shares the same initials as Jesus Christ.

      • The essay by Gerber examines these interpretations, but he ultimately comes to a different conclusion. J. C. Mangan had a sister; she is mentioned in his autobiography, as well as a biography about him. However, her name is never known. Moreover, "Joyce also adapted other significant portions of J. C. Mangan’s early life story for use in 'Araby'...Joyce’s appropriation (and fictionalization) of details taken from Mangan’s life explains Mangan’s sister’s missing name in 'Araby' because she is also nameless in the biographies of J. C. Mangan and in his autobiographical writings".

      The stories in Dubliners incorporate complex layers of meaning into straightforward plot lines.

      source: https://muse-jhu-edu.jpllnet.sfsu.edu/article/605563

    4. She could not go, she said, because there would be a retreat that week in her convent.

      The narrator reveled in the moment when the "Christian Brothers’ School set the boys free". Now the convent/church is preventing the girl he loves from being free.

    5. In front of me was a large building which displayed the magical name.

      Earlier, Mangan's sister told him it would be a "splendid bazaar"; even "The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me". That was in his imagination, but now he's in reality.

    6. O’Donovan Rossa

      Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa was a famous Irish Leader who fought for Ireland's independence.


    7. 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 gauntlet of the rough tribes from the cottages, to the back doors of the dark dripping gardens where odours arose from the ashpits, to the dark odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse or shook music from the buckled harness.

      The boy and his friends are still ordinary kids. They like to be adventurous, run through the avenues, and let their imaginations run wild. Later on, the boy's interests evolve, as do the interests of all children as they grow up.

    8. Christian Brothers’ School set the boys free

      "Araby" is filled with religious allusions; religion was important in Ireland. This passage could be interpreted in a number of ways. In one sense, the boys being set "free" could mean that they are finally able to enjoy being kids. They are literally released from the rigid structure of school, and now they can do what boys do: play. Furthermore, Khorand observes that it is possible that the school "constrains and limits [the boys] so much more with it's didactic religious teachings".

      source: http://epiphany.ius.edu.ba/index.php/epiphany/article/view/109/106

    9. blind

      A street "being blind" means that it is a dead end. North Richmond Street also happens to be a dead end where one is not able to see around the corner (see picture in the annotation for "North Richmond Street"). Furthermore, Joyce's use of the word "blind" has been a topic of discussion among literary scholars. In an essay about symbolism in "Araby", Golbarg Khorand notes that "This blind street (repeated twice in the same paragraph) could be a symbol of the boy’s character that is literally blind due to his young age and immaturity". The blindness could also be connected to all of the people living on the street, or all Dubliners. Perhaps Joyce was even thinking about all the people who never venture out from the little corner of planet earth where they were born.

      source: http://epiphany.ius.edu.ba/index.php/epiphany/article/view/109/106

    10. Araby

      "Araby" is from a collection of fifteen short stories, published in 1914, titled Dubliners. Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland, and Dubliners shows his intimate knowledge of the city. He uses real locations, even street names, throughout the collection of stories. The "Mapping Dubliners Project" uses Google Maps to trace the specific paths taken in Joyce's stories.


    11. I could interpret these signs.

      It seems his uncle likes to drink, and the boy knows what he sees. He may be used to seeing his uncle drunk, or perhaps he is able to glean new information from the world because he is spending less time with his friends and more time at home with the adults. After all, he doesn't seem to go out and play anymore, and he was just sitting with Mrs. Mercer during tea-time while she gossiped at him. He may still be a boy, but he has some insight into the world of adults.

    12. I sat staring at the clock for some time and, when its ticking began to irritate me, I left the room.

      In The Egoist, Ezra Pound asserts that "Araby" "is much better than a 'story', it is a vivid waiting". Indeed, the boy in "Araby" is often waiting for that which he desires the most. His thoughts are consumed by the magical bazaar called Araby: "I wished to annihilate the tedious intervening days...I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child's play, ugly monotonous child's play". Later on, while waiting for his uncle, he is forced to "endure the gossip of the tea-table. The meal was prolonged beyond an hour and still my uncle did not come". He is repeatedly waiting for the moment that he believes will bring him happiness.

    13. Freemason

      Freemasonry is a secretive organization that the Catholic church has opposed since the 1700's. Roman Catholicism was, and still is, the principal religion in Ireland. The boy's aunt seems to be weary of non-Irish ideas and ideals.

    14. The Abbot, by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant and The Memoirs of Vidocq.

      Nearly every detail Joyce includes is intentional. It's safe to say that he did not randomly choose these three texts.

      The Abbot, by Walter Scott, is a romance novel about Mary queen of Scots being imprisoned.

      The Devout Communicant could refer to a few religious texts with the same name.

      The Memoirs of Vidocq is a ghost-written autobiography about a French criminal who becomes a cop.

      Why did the priest happen to have these specific books?

    15. North Richmond Street

      A link, from the "Mapping Dubliners Project", about North Richmond Street: http://mappingdubliners.org/north-richmond-street/

  2. Sep 2017
    1. My parents   begged him to pluck their eyes out

      This line about the parents confuses me. One would think the parents would beg him to stop. However, they are begging him "to pluck their eyes out". Perhaps they have accepted the fact that their son is lost, and they just can't bear to watch anymore.

    2. They didn’t know   what else to do except be there to pick him up when he died. They forgot who was dying, who was already dead.

      In this stage, the parents haven't fully grasped the severity of the situation. They think their son is dying, and they hope they can save him. What they "forgot" seems to be what they just don't know yet: their son is dead; he is about to pull the parents into his death like a black hole.

    3. My parents crossed fingers   so he’d never come back, lit novena candles so he would.

      Ancient people had uncertain relationships with their god(s). On one hand, the gods had power to create life, and bring good fortune upon people. Conversely, gods had the power to destroy and bring about disasters. The "god" in this poem is certainly feared by the parents. This line captures the ambiguous relationship they have with there son/god. They want him around, but they don't want to be destroyed by him either.

    4. to climb out of whatever dark belly my brother, the Aztec, their son, had fed them to.

      Climbing out of a belly is usually associated with giving birth. The roles are reversed here in two ways. For one, it is the parents who are regressing to a pre-infantile state; they live in the darkness before existence. Second, it it their son who has forced the parents into their situation. The brother, the son, the god, has flipped life as they know it upside-down.

    5. pocked faces

      Scary how meth can physically change a person. "pocked faces"

    6. twitching like snakes

      Snake's "death twitch" (don't worry, this one is faking for self defense). https://youtu.be/nC8Lqj-vg98

    7. crushed diamond

      Crystal meth looks a lot like "crushed diamonds".

  3. Aug 2017
    1. He always came home with turquoise and jade feathers and stinking of peacock shit.

      I have no idea what this is alluding to. I tried to think about what kind of shady activities would draw a parallel to peacock feathers, but i'm stumped.

    2. crushed diamonds and fire

      If "crushed diamonds and fire" is supposed to be an accurate representation of the drug in question, then I believe it is methamphetamine. Meth could look like crushed diamonds, and it's supposed to burn really bad when snorted. However, this could just be a metaphor or an allusion to some Aztec ceremony or something.

  4. Oct 2016
  5. Sep 2016
    1. Sacred

      Why is Emily Sacred? Does this connect to "Worships worships worships."?

    2. Argonauts

      Why is she referencing the Argonauts when she has so many other obscure and unknown references before this?

    3. permit

      "who" usually refers to a human, how can a permit be a "who"?

    1. withered

      "Withered" is a crucial theme in this poem. The witch is not just an ugly person. Rather, the worth withered gives us the sense that she once had beauty. The idea that beauty fades carries on in the later stanzas. Re-reading this poem, I think of a flower withering away into nothing but twisted and shriveled petals. It once had beauty to show off, but it can never remain in that state forever. All good things must come to an end.

    2. kindred

      Def: a: a group of related individuals b: one's relatives

      2a: family relationship 2b: kinship

      Kindred seems to be an odd way to describe a spider. Perhaps the speaker is really trying to make the point that the spider is a lot like us. Obviously a spider is a vastly different species from any human, but this simple moment in the spider's life can also be relatable. He asks the question: "What brought the kindred spider to that height". By extending that notion to us, what brought any of us to be where we are in our lives at any given moment? We could be the victorious spider, but we could just as easily be the unfortunate moth.

    3. govern

      "Govern" seems to be an important theme in this poem. The poem is called "Design", and a design must have a designer. However, the poem ends by asking the question if design is even a factor in this miniature world. If design is possibly irrelevant in this world, then does it govern in the realm of humanity? This reminds me of the "The Road Not Taken" as well; the speaker in that poem could have chosen a different path and altered the course of their whole life. Life could just be a series of random events and choices in the end.

    1. outworn

      Armor being outworn is very different from armor being useless. The armor once functioned well for Mr. Flood, but now time has broken down its functionality. Futhermore, worn out armor seems more of a hindrance than it would be a benefit. It would be heavy and weigh him down.

    2. moon

      The moon paints a much more lonely picture of Mr. Flood. For some reason, one always feels less alone when the sun is out. Night time has a way of making one feel more isolated from humanity when they are out in the wilderness.

    3. nothing

      There is obviously something in the town below. After all, towns are full of activity. More specifically, there is nothing in the town left for Mr. Flood. This speaks to the passing nature of life and our place in it. Mr. Flood used to have friends there, but now he is alone. Life will go on normally in the town without Mr. Flood or his old friends, and life will continue long after Mr. Flood is deceased.

    1. He asked me all sorts of questions, too, and pretended to be very loving and kind.

      It is not clear whether John is truly manipulative. He could be genuinely caring for his wife, who is going insane. Either way, this sounds similar to paranoid schizophrenia; she could be twisting normal conversation into sinister delusions.

  6. Aug 2016
    1. They feed they Lion and he comes.

      I am just glad "Lion" was used in a complete sentence for once. I'm not sure why it had to be at the end off the poem.

    2. white sins forgiven

      This seems like a reference to Christianity.

    3. From “Bow Down” come “Rise Up,”

      These are obviously directly opposed to each other. The obviousness makes it stand out when it is compared to the other vague and/or confusing images presented.

    4. creosote, gasoline, drive shafts, wooden dollies,

      This imagery makes me think of the industrial revolution and capitalism overall.

    5. They Lion grow.

      I am not sure why this incorrect grammar is repeatedly used, but it makes me uncomfortable for some reason.

    6. purpose

      The word "purpose" seems to be out of place compared to the previous imagery in this stanza. It is also the simplest term compared to "pig balls" and "full jowl".