Date of Award
University Scholars Director
Dr. Christine Chaney
First Advisor/Committee Member
Dr. Doug Thorpe
Second Advisor/Committee Member
Dr. Jon Thorpe
James Joyce, Araby, Dublin, paralysis, symbol
Critics, scholars, and readers commonly use paralysis as a means of interpreting James Joyce’s Dubliners. However, paralysis is ambiguously defined and can have a vague connection to the actual stories. This paper puts forward an interpretation of paralysis, that paralysis is a failed attempt at filling spiritual absence with presence. In order to examine our definition more fully, we then explore occurrences of absence and presence in James Joyce’s “Araby.” “Araby” depicts absence as a decaying, draining, and oppressive home existence, and it finds presence in romantic or mythic symbol. The illusory, nonexistent, and insufficient nature of these symbols results in a failed fulfillment of absence, and the story’s protagonist concludes the story feeling disillusioned and angry. We conclude by debating the implications of paralysis in the story and briefly considering where its questions recur both throughout Dubliners and throughout the rest of Joyce’s fiction.
Farquhar, Luke R., ""Our shouts echoed in the silent street": Paralysis, Symbol, and Implication in James Joyce's "Araby"" (2018). Honors Projects. 86.