Event Title

Orientalism in James Joyce's "Araby"

Faculty Mentor

Amanda Hiner, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of English

Location

West Center, Room 221

Start Date

21-4-2017 1:45 PM

Description

This critical essay analyzes James Joyce’s short story “Araby,” and the elements of Orientalism (a strain of postcolonial theory) within. While most critics focus on the text’s function as a bildungsroman or the narrator’s ephiphany, few pieces of scholarship exist regarding the overt focus on the Oriental within “Araby.” The story’s inherent imperial-minded descriptions of an exoticised bazaar are commonly glossed over in these few articles; one cannot pass off the strain of Middle Eastern imagery, characterization, and Othering integrated into the story simply as an attempt to create a place of wonder and mystery. Joyce’s Orientalist diction and construction of the story result in the revelation of a latent imperial psychology behind his penmanship. European citizens, despite their best intentions, expose their subliminally indoctrinated colonial agendas through their work, by depicting the fantastical, the magical, or the dangerous as lesser people, objects, or events originating from what Edward Said dubs “The Orient” in his landmark text Orientalism. Said’s list of what categorizes the Orient fits the narrative of Joyce’s “Araby” perfectly, as both romance and anger – basic, primal emotions of the savage places of the Earth – haunt both the Araby bazaar the boy’s psyche. This hypocritical way of viewing millions of people and hundreds of culture groups as both romantic and abhorrent stems from the imperial fascination of white Europeans and Americans from the seventeenth through twentieth centuries, granting them what they believe is the justification to colonize and exploit a “lesser” people.

Course Assignment

ENGL 203 – Hiner

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Apr 21st, 1:45 PM

Orientalism in James Joyce's "Araby"

West Center, Room 221

This critical essay analyzes James Joyce’s short story “Araby,” and the elements of Orientalism (a strain of postcolonial theory) within. While most critics focus on the text’s function as a bildungsroman or the narrator’s ephiphany, few pieces of scholarship exist regarding the overt focus on the Oriental within “Araby.” The story’s inherent imperial-minded descriptions of an exoticised bazaar are commonly glossed over in these few articles; one cannot pass off the strain of Middle Eastern imagery, characterization, and Othering integrated into the story simply as an attempt to create a place of wonder and mystery. Joyce’s Orientalist diction and construction of the story result in the revelation of a latent imperial psychology behind his penmanship. European citizens, despite their best intentions, expose their subliminally indoctrinated colonial agendas through their work, by depicting the fantastical, the magical, or the dangerous as lesser people, objects, or events originating from what Edward Said dubs “The Orient” in his landmark text Orientalism. Said’s list of what categorizes the Orient fits the narrative of Joyce’s “Araby” perfectly, as both romance and anger – basic, primal emotions of the savage places of the Earth – haunt both the Araby bazaar the boy’s psyche. This hypocritical way of viewing millions of people and hundreds of culture groups as both romantic and abhorrent stems from the imperial fascination of white Europeans and Americans from the seventeenth through twentieth centuries, granting them what they believe is the justification to colonize and exploit a “lesser” people.