The Romance of Araby

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What I found stood out most when I mapped Araby was the extreme smallness of his home neighborhood, when compared to the great distance he travels on his quest of romanticism.  I started out very small--marking a tentative house for the boy, one across the street for the girl, the route to his school where he followed her every day... and then turned to searching for the train station.  I was immediately struck by just how small a space he inhabits to start with.

Araby, of course, is commonly typed as a coming-of-age story, and this spacial sense of the story emphasizes this point even more clearly.  Another common literary and philosophical trope arises as a result--that of the female as the civilizing, maturing factor for the male.  Seen as far back as the Gilgamesh epic, where the woman Shamhat is presented as the civilizing influence who brings Enkidu out of the wilderness and makes him into a man, this idea of the woman's role is a critical one in literary tradition, one that I missed when I first read through Araby

Mapping actually highlights this idea, by pulling the reader back far enough to recognize the incredible distance he travels in the name of the romantic quest, which of course results in his disillusionment and awakening to the real world.  The girl, in this light, becomes a far more interesting, powerful character, one who is intimately involved with the process of  his maturation, even if she is not actually sexually involved.

Araby Chivalric Quest

My map tracks the protagonist's romantic quest, beginning with his first social encounter with his object of infatuation and ending with the final destination of the journey--the bazaar.  The length of his journey geographically supports the claim that his excursion to the bazaar was indeed a romantic quest.  Before the journey, his life was played out in a relatively small, two-block area, but his quest expanded his radius from (roughly) 50m to 5 km.

On another note, this mapping project revealed how many real places Joyce references in his short story.  Although this is not entirely unusual for an author to do, it does make the story more realistic.  The more points I marked on the map, the more alive and substantial the story became to me.



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By mapping Araby I could see how long the boy's travel to get to the Bazaar was and it was long. Mapping the journey it was interesting to see where he traveled. Having gone to Ireland myself I remembered familiar places in Dublin and I can't believe that I didn't realize that places we probably passed were connected to Araby. So I find that really fascinating and it shows how mapping can help open up different views. By mapping Araby one can see how the story progresses and the feelings of the boy change. With the story being so short it’s not surprising that the journey of the boy felt short. Mapping out the journey I could see how the boy’s journey was actually long and it changed my view of how the boy began to change due to the coldness of reality. 

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Map of Araby

I mapped the route from the boys house to the Araby Bazaar. I find it very interesting to see how far he had to travel to get to the bazaar and how far he was willing to travel for a girl. I am not sure if I mapped the route 100% correctly, but regardless the overall journey was rather large for a young boy. Today, the journey may not seem so far, but I imagine that it was much farther in his time.

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Araby Lab

During our lab, I put place marks in places I thought corresponded with Joyce's story.  Also, I went to to look for a place that might serve as a market in Joyce's time.  My best guess (at the moment) is Pearse Square.  Take a look:


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Map of "Araby" Journey

Here is a map showing the boy's walk down Buckingham St. to the tram, which he takes to Westland Row (now Pearse Station), and gets on a train (now the DART) to Sandymount, and then walks to the bazaar. It is color coded for mode of transportation (blue = walking; red = tram; green = train).

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Life and Art


  • Most frequent: art, life, great, man, war
  • Most notable peaks: world, form, men, nature, new
  • Most distinctive: arghol, know, evadne, florence, black, war, blenner, crowd, multum, paintin

Interesting how it's about war, but life is a frequently used word, rather than death, which differs from the information we extrapolated from Little Review using Gephi.

  • Number of documents: 2
  • Longest word count: Blast 1
  • Highest vocabulary density: Blast 2



  • Most frequent: art, little, time, life, artist
  • Most notable peaks: painting, artist, la, life, little
  • Most distinctive: artist, english, great, modern, white, bestre, et, le, les, la

What does this say about the context?: Much like BLAST, there is a correlation between life and art.

  • Number of documents: 2
  • Longest word count: Tyro 2
  • Highest vocabulary density: Tyro 1

New Freewoman & Egoist

The reason I chose to look at these two journals in particular was the New Freewoman turned into the  Egoist. I wanted to note the similarities and the changes that were made between the two. I started by comparing man/men with woman/women and I also compared life/death. One of my finds was that there was a shift from the New Freewoman talking about women to men in the Egoist. Life and death were focused on about the same in both journals. 

In Freewoman the majority of the journal peaked woman and women, but changed towards the end. In the Egoist men and man were more frequent than women and woman. When comparing life and death by itself life was way above death and when comparing life and death with man and woman life was more often right along the same path as man. Death was still on the lower part of the scale. From these two points the journals are about life and the direction men are taking. Women was a focus for a short time, but men ultimately became dominant. The other interesting point in this is the Freewoman journal only had 13 documents where the Egoist had 74.

I then compared the more frequent words and the more notable peaks in the journals. In Freewoman the more frequent words were: man, men, life, women and new. The notable peaks were: make, little, say, things and think. In Egoist the frequent words were: life, man, new, said and time. The notable peaks were: given, way, course and le. 

I took two words from each journal and compared them together. The word new is more apparent in both journals and time is more dominate in the Egoist, but time, make and think are not as important in the Freewoman. It appears that the Egoist became a more forward thinking journal as soon as it moved away from the Freewoman.  

Identification and Verification

Part 1

1. Words


  • Most frequent words: poetry, verse, poems, new, magazine
  • Most notable peaks: magazine, poets, monroe, men, poet
  • Most distinctive words: poetry, king, magazine, verse, volume, net, art, death, english, american...

The most obvious indication these words give is that Poetry revolves primarily around art and poetry, which is of course wholly unsurprising.  Digging a little deeper, however, I considered the fact that a magazine titled "Poetry" would contain so many mentions of its own subject matter.  In addition, it contains a very high usage of words like "verse" and "volume," which suggested to me that it was a far more self-referential periodical than one that simply published poems.  I formulated a prediction that the magazine was concerned with the discussion of poetry and poetics, which from a brief skim of the magazine seems to be more or less correct.

The Egoist

  • Most frequent words: life, man, new, said, time
  • Most notable peaks: new, given, way, course, le (?)
  • Most distinctive words: law, diomedes, interest, liberty, art, pleasure, goodwill, artist, progress, men, believe, think, mother, chastity, life, love, people, dedalus, dante

Based on the word frequencies, The Egoist seems to be largely concerned with the human spirit, with such lofty questions as life and mortality, love, art, pleasure, morality, and time.  In short, The Egoist is truly quite the egoist among magazines!  Skimming over the material, I got the impression that the magazine wants very badly to be an authority on matters of art, morality, politics to some extent, and living.  It is a rather humanist magazine.  (Sidenote: I can only interpret the frequency of le to mean that the magazine contains an overabundance of French expressions which, along with the many Greek mythological references, only serves to support my theory!)

2. Documents


  • Number of documents: 123
  • Longest issues: Volume 17.6, Volume 14.3
  • Highest vocabulary density: Volume 2.4, Volume 1.4

The Egoist

  • Number of documents: 74
  • Longest issues: Volume 1.6, Volume 1.16
  • Higest vocabulary density: Volume 5.8, Volume 5.9

3. Graphs


  • Man, Woman

  • New, Old

The Egoist

  • Man, Woman

  • New, Old

"Man" and "woman" for Poetry is easy!  The first major spike for both "man" and "woman" takes place in 1916, right in the middle of World War I.  The loosening of gender roles had a major push during this time due to the need for women to fill in jobs traditionally held by males while the men were away at war.  The second spike occurs in 1920, which, of course, is the year the U.S. instituted women's suffrage.  The dates of the major points for The Egoist regarding "man" and "woman" are less clearly correlated, but they both happen during WWI, again emphasizing the war's role in gender roles.  What I find most intriguing, though, is the fact that the correlation is far more clear in Poetry than it is in The Egoist--a magazine seemingly concerned only about poetics and aesthetics over the magazine that tries to claim a role in all the lofty issues.

"New" and "old," however, presented what looked like interesting spikes on their own, but less notable against one another.  The only point of much interest is that of Poetry where "old" far outstrips "new" for a change; this takes place in 1920, which aside from women's suffrage is home to the institution of prohibition.  My theory is that such major events, with the amoutn of resistance they met, might have triggered a good deal of concern and nostalgia for the past.

Part II

1. Word and document patterns

  • Most frequent words: new, colored, negro, man, men
  • Most notable peaks: year, negro, given, years, cents
  • Most distinctive words: colored, negro, new, york, people, race, white, south...
  • Number of documents: 508
  • Longest issues: Blast 1, Crisis 18.2
  • Higest vocabulary density: Others 3.6, Others 3.5

Given what I've seen of Poetry and The Egoist, I'd be quite wary of taking this collection of words as an accurate representation of the corpus--which confirms what Professor Drouin said in class about one or two magazines skewing the whole.  The weight of a magazine affects the whole, which can be dangerous when trying to place the corpus into types or themes!

2. Graphs

  • Man, Woman

  • New, Old

One thing I find worth noting is that, in both cases, the words that are less frequent have the most notable peaks.  While "old" is less frequent than "new" overall, its four most notable peaks surpass "new" a good deal; additionally, the two highest peaks for "old" are almost double and triple the highest peaks for "new."  In the case of "man" and "woman," "man" has three major spikes; however, the single most notable spike for "woman" is a little over a full 1% of the words for its point in time, while "man" is a little over .7%.  I'm not quite sure what to make of this, though...

3. Further study

The pair of terms that caught my interest while I was studying the full corpus was that of "work" and "art."  What struck me was the overall steadiness of the use of work, which was used more or less at a regular rate through the years, as opposed to art, which was in general slightly less frequently used, but which had spikes of usage which far outstripped that of work's best moments. 

What this told me was that work was a constantly relevant subject, used because it is a part of life and because it is necessary to address.  Art, on the other hand, was a highly emotional word, going through spikes of use as a country goes through revolutions and uprising.  It is a highly charged, passionate word that is well-loved all the time in the dark, but which also has the potential to rally up enormous numbers of supporters at the right time.

This led me to go back to The Egoist and Poetry to see how they held up against the general trend.  The Egoist was quite straightforward, giving a similar tendency--frequent, steady usage of "work," occasional uprisings of "art."

Poetry, however, threw me for a bit of a loop.

In Poetry, art is actually more frequent than work, which surprised me at first, since this is a break from the trend found in The Egoist and the full corpus; however, I realized it is rather useful to take the title of the magazine into consideration—Poetry is, of course, an ostensibly more art-oriented magazine, with a greater focus on aesthetics, poetics, and art than some of the more politically-oriented zines in the collection.  Under such a consideration, the exception makes much better sense.

4. Conclusion

My general conclusion from these analyses is that graphing is a fantastic, fascinating tool for literary study as it confirms some theories and suggests new ones; however, it is vitally important that any work done with graphs be taken back to the texts.  The graphs can suggest trends, significant dates, seemingly related data; however, any of this could prove to be coincidence or a matter of sample sizes, insufficiently varied samples, or something of the sort.  Weighted data can prove problematic and misleading.  Anyone working with these sorts of data analyses must be certain to check back against the text itself--this is why I checked my theories about the texts against skimming of the actual corpus material (of course, actually reading might be better!).  I'm quite excited about the potential of such work, though--it could prove helpful in identifying works that are important in different ways from thematic significance!  We can begin to find important books by word relevance, for example.  The possibilites are escaping the top of my head, but I do believe there are a good deal of them!