Comparing “Araby” and “Going to the Moon”

When one talks about the allure of the other, many different meanings can rise up into the conversation. Allure is defined as an attractive or tempting quality possessed by somebody or something, often glamorous and

sometimes risky. In both short stories, Araby and Going to the Moon, the allure of the other, love or acceptance, shared a similar yet different pattern as it happens throughout the two stories. For the stories, the protagonists were attracted to a female character because both of them seemed capable of providing an imaginary satisfaction, either for love or recognition that would fill up the void of loneliness and isolation. Due to the appeal of the unknown, both of the protagonists were allured to a location that they believed to be secure and harmonious. Then at the end, both protagonists realized that what they desired, love or acceptance, can not be fulfilled because their deep emotions and feelings blindly misled them.

The main similarity between the two stories is that both protagonists were drawn towards a female character because they portrayed the superficial appeal of love and acceptance. In Araby, the boy was attracted to the girl because he is a senior teenager who as all other teenagers is interested in the matter of sexuality. The author illustrated that boy has no way of escaping the allure of the female character in the story, Mangan’s sister, because she composed of an attractive appearance and body figure. As a result, her body figure and movements became the main focus on his mind. “Her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side” (288, James Joyce). Instead of realizing that he was really interested in sexuality, he blindly led himself to believe this is a high ordered romance. Due to the appeal revealed from Mangan’s sister, the boy was blindly infatuated with her. Evidence supporting this is that the author used a metaphor to imply that the narrator felt like a harp controlled by Mangan’s sister. In the other story, Going to the Moon, the young protagonist was drawn to a female character who he believes can connect him with the outside world and provides him with protection and acceptance. She is so exceptionally different from the others that she “stood out from the stiff formality of the priests and nuns like a burst of colour in a grey landscape” (213, Nino Ricci). The reasons for her difference are her striking beauty, rich and colourful apparel, and unique ways of teaching. Therefore, including the protagonist, all the kids admire her to a great extend. The moon in the unique moon game started by her symbolizes an ideal world where the boy believes he can be accepted and welcomed. Since the game was organized by her, she then became the connection to his hopes of acceptances. So in both stories, the young and innocence of the story led them to succumb to the superficial appeal of love and acceptance because they seemed so interesting and comforting.

Due to the appeal of love and acceptance, both protagonists had a location in mind that reflects their hopes and dreams. In the story Araby, the magical place in the mind of the boy was the bazaar Araby. This place is implied with significance and heavenly decoration because it is where the protagonist can start his plan of consummating his love. Since the boy promised the girl that he will retrieve something back for her from the bazaar, the mission to the bazaar then represents a mission of winning the girl’s love. The bazaar then was constantly on his mind, “…the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me” (Joyce 289). In the story, Going to the Moon, the desirable location the protagonist dreams of was U.S.A. His family and he were originally planning to go to U.S.A, and they see it with a greater importance and significance in comparison to Canada. This was illustrated at the beginning where Windsor, Canada, was like a purgatory. An allusion was also used to show the protagonist’s desire to go to U.S.A by comparing their family to Dorothy which “falling asleep on the road to Emerald city”, or U.S.A. Not only so, the protagonist view the building structure in U.S.A with high respect and admiration, “…that skyline’s tall buildings stood unnaturally still and crisp in the cold air…they had a strange, unreal quality….my eyes could not believe their own power to hold so much in a glance” (Ricci 210). So for both of the stories, the appeal of the unknown caused the allure to a location, changing from feeling or emotion to a materialized desire for a place.

High expectations usually conclude with a note that disappoints the person with the hope. Just as in the story, Araby, where the protagonist came into a realization that the girl does not love him as she treated him out of duty, and in some way, she seemed to be using him to buy things for her. The author prelude the realization by showing a flat, meaningless conversation between the protagonist and a saleswoman in comparison to the flirtation shared between the same women and two other men. Mangan’s sister is just like the saleswoman, treat the boy out of duty rather than the passion he desired. At the end, the reality was learnt by the boy in the harshest way possible, as he saw himself “as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger” (292, James Joyce). The realization in the story Going to the Moon is that U.S.A was not a utopia as imagined. Due to the death of the astronauts and riots in Detroit, the boy can no longer mislead himself to believe that U.S.A is a safe and secure country. Not only that, the death of the astronauts had changed Miss Johnson, as she changed and acted in the same way as all other teachers in the school. The change in her, the termination of the moon game had completed destroyed the boy’s hope and faith of the easy acceptance into a welcoming world. However, though, the boy had began to accept his life, his position in Canada, because it seems Windsor can be a peaceful place to be in comparison to U.S.A, because at the end he called Windsor “home”. Overall, the tough realizations caused pains and sufferings to both protagonists as they cannot be satisfied with their hopes and desire. However, the same time they learn from these harsh lessons, they advance in life significantly.

The allure of the other plays a major role in both Araby and Going to the Moon. In both short stories, the main characters were attracted to a certain character for a variation of reasons. It could be to fill a void in their life, or to fulfill an imagination or dream they have had in the past. Either way, the allure controlled them to the point where they discovered that is wasn’t safe or pleasant like the main characters thought it would be. The disappointment of the allure not being what was expected hit the protagonists hard and in a deep manner. The results changed their way of life and way of thinking, which made them see the world in a different way. In conclusion, one cannot always go with the allure of the other and expect perfect results, but one can always try and accept the results regardless.

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