James Joyce's Araby - Auditory Imagery in Araby
Length: 399 words (1.1 double-spaced pages)
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I noticed a lot of auditory imagery in "Araby" that helped to enhance the meaning of the story. The first is the description of the sound in the streets when the young man is walking by thinking of the girl he loves. He hears the "curses of laborers," the "shrill litanies of shop boys," and "nasal chantings of street singers." All of these images, besides just making the street seem busy, also make it seem like an unpleasant and intruding scene, almost like you would want to cover your ears and hurry through as fast as possible. This compliments perfectly the boy's imagination that he is "carrying his chalice safely through a throng of foes." In the scene where the boy is in the priest's house late at night, the auditory imagery helps contribute to the sense of drama. "There was no sound in the house," but outside boy heard the rain "impinge upon the earth" with "fine incessant needles of water." The choice of words here makes the rain seem almost as if it is hostile. You can hear the force and fury of the storm, and this makes the emotions the boy is feeling seem even more intense.
Later, when the boy is looking out the window of the top story of his house, he looks down and sees his friends playing in the street, and their cries reach him "weakened and indistinct." This image brings about an impression that the boy now feels "removed" from his friends and their games, because he is caught up in his fantasy. Normally, he would probably be down there playing with them, but now his head is filled with much more pressing thoughts, and they drown out the laughter and fun of his friends and their "childish" games.
Finally, when the boy enters the bazaar, he recognizes "a silence like that which pervades a church after a church service.
" This image makes the bazaar feel gloomy, like the boy doesn't really want to be there. It emphasizes the fact that he is late and has missed all the action. It also seems to introduce a shift in the boy's perspective. Oftentimes walking into a quiet church will put someone into a reflective mood. It seems as the boy enters the bazaar and notices this silence, the futility of his fantasy slowly begins to dawn on him.