Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on James Joyce's Araby. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Araby: Plot Summary
Araby: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Araby: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of James Joyce
Historical Context of Araby
Other Books Related to Araby
- Full Title: Araby
- When Written: 1904-1906
- Where Written: Possibly Trieste, Italy or what is now Pula, Croatia (Joyce moved around a lot during this period of his life).
- When Published: 1914
- Literary Period: Modernist Period
- Genre: Short Fiction
- Setting: Dublin, Ireland
- Climax: The narrator tries to impress his crush but fails and is confronted with the realization of his own vanity and the disappointment inherent in growing up
- Antagonist: the dull streets of Dublin
- Point of View: First-person
Extra Credit for Araby
Semi-autobiographical? Some critics speculate that the reason Joyce never gives the narrator in “Araby” a name is because it is actually a semi-autobiographical work. Although Joyce did not live with his aunt and uncle, his father had a drinking problem that drove their family into debt and Joyce himself actually attended the Christian Brothers’ School on North Richmond Street in 1883.
Struggle with censorship. Joyce actually had a tough time publishing many of his works, most notably his novel Ulysses, as they were considered quite radical for the time. Joyce was criticized for including descriptions of masturbation and for defaming English royalty, among other things. Ulysses was published for the first time in Paris in 1922, but both the U.S. and England banned the work. In 1934, the case finally made it to the U.S. courts, where it was declared that the book was not pornographic. In 1936, Britain also lifted the ban.