Posted: August 12th, 2013





Critique of the Harry Stone perspective

Harry Stone offers a critique on the story “Araby’. “ Araby” is filled with simple and complex works of literature that provides a resource for literary critique. Harry Stone explores the literature in the story mainly focusing on the figurative language used. His primary focus is on symbolism and literary allusions. He contends that Joyce had the tendency to be careful enough in order to offer a poor representation of his actions and images. Therefore, they were marked with layers of translucent and incremental meaning. He therefore set the precedence to the critique perspective of the “Symbolism thread.” However, if the symbolic making power of the mind is primarily considered, anything can become symbolism in the tale.

The story of “Araby” is written by James Joyce who is often considered among the greatest English novelist during the 20th century. The story is narrated and shown through the eyes of a young boy and his consciousness. The story employs the extensive use of numerous literary devices. These devices are clear from the onset of the story to its completion. These elements of the story form the fundamental concept for Harry Stone’s critique. The symbolism used by Joyce is important in understanding the thoughts and feelings of the boy. Therefore, the literary devices highlight the major themes in the story and provide the reader the opportunity to relate with the characters.

Stone offers his critique on the basis of uncovering the allusions to other authors. This is in relation to the meaning that is hidden behind various objects in the text. In addition, he views the plot as some sort of archetype. However, his approach does not look in to other aspects of theme that also plays out throughout the story. Stone cites basic allusions to DeQuincy, Yeats and the use of mangan. Stone is quick to note that the poet James Mangan was an influential figure to the writer of the story “Araby”. Accordingly, the protagonist’s friend in the story is also called Mangan. His idealized sister also has a similar name. Therefore, there is a significant and creative correlation of these characters and the poet Mangan.

According to Stone, the popular poem “Dark Rosaleen” is of primary importance to Joyce. Therefore, it relates to the story. This is because Mangan uses a poem that has a similar blend of religious adoration and physical love that the writer makes the young boy show towards Mangan’s sister. Mangan also offers a host of important allusions in relation to Ireland, poetry and “Dark Rosaleen.” This symbolism and allusion is therefore clear contrary to Stone’s perspective. In addition, it is through this correlation that the reader is able to discern the meaning of “Araby.” The significant aspect in the story for Stone therefore lies in the symbolic details.

Stone also touches on the symbolism of words such as blind, the florins, “Araby,” vigils in the tail and other words. However, his article deviates to some extent from the primary role of critiquing the story of “Araby” and relating it to Joyce’s work. The symbolism in the story is suitable incorporated to suit various events that are marked by the protagonist. Themes such as religion need for emotional connection, religious decadence and the distinction between personal and religious beliefs are portrayed through symbolism. His worldly concerns and needs are accentuated by the images of Araby. The element of symbolism interprets towards his religious inclinations that are overthrown by the lure of possibility of sensual and mysterious bazaar.

Stone also highlights the theme of religious decadence through the symbolism used to relate to the priest. Priests generally represent the Christian religion and the church. The dead priest in “Araby” is portrayed as immoral and greedy. Stone highlights this to indicate the increased level of moral decadence in the church. Stone bases his evidence in the request of the priest to donate all his money to charity after his death. According to Stone, a priest should not be rich or have that much money. In addition, the priest had books such as “An anti-catholic work” written by Abednego Seller and The Devout Communist. These readings contradict the moral principles of the church because of the principles that govern the approach. However, Stone does not offer the perspective that the priest might be driven by curiosity to read the books as a trivial motivation.

Stone also criticizes the structure of the story in that it is associated with the Dublin society. He reiterates that the book indicates that citizens gradually become trapped within the Dublin society. He highlights Joyce’s revelation that Dublin has become the epitome of paralysis in life’s achievements. In addition, the citizens have become victims of the paralyzing effect of the Dublin society. Symbolism in the story shows how some members of the society have been held captive by religion and others like the protagonist’s attempt to escape it with his individual beliefs. Stone shows the symbolism in the boy’s efforts to escape religion. Stone is therefore correct in his definition of the social structure within the story.

Stone also touches on the viewpoint that Joyce has used the story of the life of the young boy in order to relay his message and approach to life’s issues. The result is a deep and enlarged view of the writer’s universal ideology. It is therefore necessary to look into the surface and deeper meaning that is contained in the story. However, Stone should also link the different approaches taken by Joyce. Some of the approaches taken by Joyce are to be assessed in their simplistic form. However, the simplistic and complex literature methods exist simultaneously in the story. Therefore, both approaches should be used extensively. Joyce’s work contains a wide array of historical references, allusions and multiple meanings. Stone should have used symbolism to incorporate these aspects.

Stone’s critique also offers the distinct perspective in to the thoughts of the boy. According to Stone, the boy is seeking his freedom. His freedom is against the religion. The critique shows that the catholic religion has been influenced and changed by the changing social and political circumstances. Mangan’s sister is a symbol of the Virgin Mary. The narrator therefore worships her like the Virgin Mary. Stone also reveals uses the narrators thoughts on how he felt that she followed him everywhere. In addition, the boy is disgusted by the impact and hold the church has on him. Therefore, he realizes that he needs freedom after the realization and understanding the church has had a strong hold over his life. Joyce allows the symbolism to show the mythical vision of Ireland that was a victim of enemies that was stripped of its nationality and sacrificed to exploitation by foreign powers. However, Stone does not give the different view that the narrator has benefited to some extent from religion. In addition Mangan’s sister can also be used to represent western influence and dominance.

Other elements of figurative language are used by Joyce. These include irony, personification, metaphor and Irish mythology. However, Stone does not adequately show their prominence in his critique. The narrator has a symbolic dream of a romantic enchantment (Stone, 89). Stone focuses on the symbolic aspect on how the dream represents the religious bondage which limits the boy’s life. However, there is also an ironic indirection in the dream. Eastern influence is also incorporated in Irish affairs. The setting of any story is also instrumental in the integration of various concepts of the story. The story is established in an Irish setting in the City of Dublin (Joyce, et. al, 122). Therefore, some of the major characters and features in the tale relate to an Irish background and setting. Though Stone associates his critique to the setting, he should have undertaken a further analytical association to the setting.

Harry Stone views the story by Joyce is a portrayal of him as a young boy. His argument is set on the autobiographical approach towards the story. However, he does not offer give much explanation towards his argument. In addition, he does not provide substantial evidence to support his claims. However, the story of “Araby” does resemble the life and childhood of James Joyce. He lived in the city of Dublin on North Richmond Street throughout his childhood. Similarly, the narrator in “Araby” lives in the area. He also attended the Christian Brother’s school. In addition, the uncle and aunt to “Araby” bear a similar resemblance to the writer’s parents.

In conclusion Harry Stone expresses his critique of the story as one which offers a diverse reflection of society. He explains the reading experience as a criticism of civilization, religion, a nation and human existence in general. The story of “Araby” therefore the scale that is an indicator of the well guarded citadels of individuals and their level of self delusion. The writer is successful by using simple actions and phrases that have a deep meaning of his message. Therefore, Stone’s critique offers a broader perspective of the story “Araby” and its pros and cons. However, setting his basis on figurative language and symbolism might be an over analysis of the simplistic aspect of the story.






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