Araby Teaching Guide
- 12 pages
- Subject: Allusion, Character Analysis, Historical Context, Imagery, Plot, Setting, Symbols, Themes, Lesson Plans and Educational Resources
- Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12
Additional Araby Resources
Whether it’s your first or hundredth time, this classic text has been a mainstay of English classrooms for generations. While it has its difficult spots—cryptic references, innuendo, narrative flow—teaching this text to your class will be rewarding for you and your students. It will give them unique insight into the world of Dublin that James Joyce knew, rendered with telling details and psychological subtlety that show how, as Joyce says, “In the particular is contained the universal.”
About This Document
Owl Eyes teaching guides have been designed to help first-time and veteran teachers open up classic works of literature for their students. Our guides provide rich background information, identify key themes and topics, and offer creative and practical approaches to teaching the text.
The main components of each guide include the following:
- A concise history of the text
- An explanation of significant allusions
- Teaching approaches and discussion questions
- Tricky issues to address while teaching
- Alternative teaching approaches
- A list of complementary texts
These teaching guides offer valuable context and promote meaningful discussions about novels, plays, poems, and stories that have captivated English Language Arts students for generations. Each guide is comprehensive and concise, thought-provoking and practical.
Approaches and Discussion Questions Excerpt
Theme of Epiphany: Joyce said that one of his literary aims was to portray what he called (borrowing from religious language) epiphanies: moments of revelation, often brought on by commonplace occurrences, that transform an individual, giving a deeper, truer understanding of life. A popular critical approach to Dubliners is to see it as a collection of epiphanies, and “Araby” lends itself to that line of interpretation particularly well. The narrator’s experience at the bazaar leaves him a different person than he was before.
- For discussion: How exactly has the narrator been transformed by his experience? In the final sentence of the story he says, “I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.” Is that reaction what students expected? Is this really an epiphany, and if so, in what way has the narrator gained a truer understanding of life?
- For discussion: Why did Joyce place so much importance on epiphanies? Are they really a common feature of life? Do all people have them?
Theme of First Love: “Araby” is, at its most fundamental level, the story of a boy on the cusp of adolescence experiencing his first romantic feelings. Plainly put, he has a crush on the girl who lives across the street. The theme is one of the most familiar in literature, but the details of the story firmly anchor it to a specific time and place.
- For discussion: Joyce is famous for saying, “In the particular is contained the universal.” How well does that statement apply to this story? Which aspects of it are universal and which aren’t? Do all first crushes end in some sort of disillusionment? Why or why not?