American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn proclaimed, “There are two parts to influence: First, influence is powerful; and second, influence is subtle. You wouldn’t let someone push you off course, but you might let someone nudge you off course and not even realize it. ” Culture affects almost every aspect of our lives. Culture influences such as socioeconomic status, profession, gender, and religious beliefs are like subterranean rivers running through our lives and relationships, giving us messages that control our recognition, attributions, judgment and conceptions of self and other.
Cultures are embedded in every conflict that touches us where it matters, where we make meaning and grasp our individualities, there is always a cultural component. Like the main characters in James Joyce “Araby” and “Eveline” culture has an impact on both characters, they lead a life that is profoundly limited in terms of opportunity and escape. Both the adolescent boy in “Araby” and Eveline in “Eveline,” are unhappy with their life as it is, but the two characters each meet someone who represents change, hope and a new life, away from their depressing existing lifestyle.
However with the pressure of their cultural influences they will live their life of solitude and depression. Socioeconomic status has an affect in some circumstances on both of the main characters. The adolescent boy in Joyce’s story is lower-middle class. The street on which the boy lives has a detailed description and conveys the modest lives of its lower class residents. The adolescent boy describes his home and street using words like “detached” and “imperturbable” (Joyce 622), to express problems on the street.
Joyce also uses “blind”, “quiet” and “uninhabited” (622), which gives us a sense of desolation, gloom and people detach from neighbors; seems to be difficult to communicate. The protagonist falls in love with his friend’s sister. The girl he is in love with mentions the existence of a striking bazaar in town, named “Araby. ” He then becomes fixated with the idea of going to the bazaar to bring the girl a gift. Yet, disappointment overcame the young boy who is ultimately faced with reality when he goes to Araby and realizes that he cannot afford the items that are sold there.
Similarly, Eveline in Joyce’s short story “Eveline” is lower class. The weight of poverty and family responsibilities is tough on the young woman. Poverty is a problem for Eveline as well as her whole family, causing her at the young age of nineteen, to work as a shop girl; “she always gave her entire wages-seven shillings… trouble was to get any money from her father” (Joyce 1557). The protagonist “Had hard work to keep the house together and to see that the two children who had been left to her charge went to school regularly and got meals regularly” (Joyce 1558). In each story, both characters’ socioeconomic status is similar.
The combination of social and economic factors is a part of their unhappiness. Both narratives note the roles that gender and profession take part in the characters lives. The unnamed boy is an adolescent who is educated by Christian brothers and he has started to explore his sexual identity. Joyce protagonist went from an innocent kid playing in the last light of childhood, “we met in the street… our shouts echoed… the career of our play brought us through the dark muddy lanes” (622), to an anguished young man, “my eyes burned with anguish and anger” (Joyce 626).
Through the career in the neighborhood is childlike, most of the children are familiar with the adult world and are interested in it, but he has come to realize that maturity is not the acknowledgement of childhood guarantee, but rather its misfortune. On the other hand the protagonist in “Eveline” is a young women who’s passivity in the short story is not a surprise since she, as a character is in her profession as a housemaid in the typical role of women throughout Dubliners, in Dublin’s
Ireland in the last years of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century; Joyce describes evelines life as “it was hard work-a hard life” (1558). Eveline is not only a housemaid but also works in a shop this reflects the limited economic possibilities for women in Ireland in the late nineteenth century and early years of the twentieth century. She is expected to help her family’s financial problems, cook, clean, take care of two children and keep the home together. That was what she is expected to do as women in Dublin’s Ireland.
In the two short stories religion plays a significant role. Joyce represents religion as a contractual part of society, which leaves people weak and not able to live life as they imagine. Joyce uses Catholic symbol to demonstrate the importance of religion in both of the main characters Eveline and the unnamed boy. Joyce symbolizes Adam and Eve’s story The Fall; “The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple-tree and a few straggling bushes under which I found the late tenant’s rusty bicycle-pump” (622). In the Catholic religion Adam and Eve is believed to be the time when sin became present.
The story is the innocent life that was shared in the lovely garden, aggressively changed into a life a life of accountability, pain, heartache, grief and the separation of god. The transformation of the story Adam and Eve is also seen in the story “Araby,” the change of the innocent life of a child to the harsh life of an adult. Joyce is trying to show the significance of religion in “Araby. ” Furthermore, in “Eveline” the main character doesn’t want to be held down by her religion and Joyce symbolizes her not wanting to be held down by her religion by using the words “black” and “mass” together.
For the Catholic Chruch a Black Mass is a traditional ceremony that witches perform to invoke evil spirits and the mass of them, “through the wide doors of the sheds she caught a glimpse of the black mass of the boat, lying in besides the quay wall, with illumined portholes” (Joyce 1559). Joyce not only specifies the importance of the catholic religion, but also shows the indication that Eveline is trying to escape from the constrictive power of the church and religion. The setting of both short story’s “Araby” and “Eveline” are portrayed differently.
In the story “Araby” Joyce defines the setting in terms of figurative blindness and paralysis. The author reinforces the theme and the characters by using imagery of light and darkness. This illustrates the boy’s experience on how individuals frequently expect more than common reality can offer and feel disillusioned and disappointed. He uses dark and obscure references to make the boy’s reality of living in the gloomy town more vivid. Unlike the adolescent boy in “Eveline” the setting in the story is very plain.
Nothing in Eveline’s life seems to change; most of the story takes place with Eveline sitting by the window. Joyce describes this as a dull room, “the odor of the dusty cretonne” (1556), from the curtains. Eveline is a result of her own environment. She is trapped in the setting and does not know any other way except the way things are now. Dublin has become a part of Eveline and the setting is the only thing that gives her a sense of security. Both of the short stories are similar in a way that they both represent aspects of life in Dublin Ireland in the early twentieth century.
Both characters come from very similar social and economic backgrounds, the young boy and Eveline face similar challenges, defeats and regrets. Both stories are about unrealistic dreams. There is a delusion that occurs with these characters as they attempt to alter circumstances in their lives. They meet someone who they thought represented change, hope and a new life, away from their depressing existing lifestyle. However with the pressure of their cultural influences left them with their depressed lives, not willing to change the ways of their Dublin cultural.
The characters in the two stories James Joyce wrote experience epiphanies when they realize the truth of their romantic illusions and they are doomed to their lives in brown houses that reach to a blind end, but unlike the boy of “Araby” who understands that he is to blame for his self-deception, Eveline, at the end, views her sailor as the threat to her romantic idea, rather than her own lack of courage. They are both stuck in the circumstances of their restrictive culture of Dublin Ireland.