Dubliners

Map of Maria's route in James Joyce's "Clay"

In Joyce's short story, "Clay," Maria goes on a journey from the laundry (a home/recovery center for women) where she works in the kitchen to visit her friends, the Donnellys. Interestingly, Maria's route is very nearly the inverse of the route taken by the boy in "Araby." Assuming I have the approximate locations correct, Maria's journey begins and ends within a half mile of the boy's starting and ending points. The only really major difference is that Maria goes north on her trip and the boy goes south. Both characters are very excited about their journey, greatly build it up, and then are disappointed in the end.

Mapping Araby

Instead of just looking at Dublin, I tried to map the foreign references in Araby. I ended up with 3 places- Arabia from the reference to The Arab's Farewell to His Steed, France because of the french name of the Cafe Chantant, and England because of the English accents of the stall merchants. I noticed that in regards of the order they are presented in the story, the references go from the furthest away and get progresssively closer to Dublin. I think this parallels the boy's collapse of his naivete. When we're young, it seems like the world is so close and reachable, but I think that as the boy became more aware of 'reality' at least in the 'seeing through the mirages that make things seem magical' sense, the more he sees how small his world actually is. He said, "the syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me." (2) The boy saw Araby as this magical place, but when it turned out to be quite the opposite, it changed how he saw the world and himself. 

Even if that wasn't Joyce's purpose with the foreign references, they do give the sense of how far away from home the boy is. When the poem is mentioned, we're reminded that it's not his father he's waiting for, it's his uncle, which seems out of place and furthermore, he's drunk and forgot about him, which isn't very 'home-y' at all. And then at Araby, it's definitely not what he's used to, which is the little square that he's used to calling home, but it's also a let down because although they are different places, they aren't magical places at all.