Fall From Innocence, a Fall From Eden Essay

Pages: 3 (1065 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

¶ … fall from Innocence, a Fall From Eden: The Structure of "An Encounter" and "Araby"

Both "Araby" and "An Encounter" come relatively soon in the chronology of James Joyce's text Dubliners. This is appropriate, given that thematically and structurally both of these tales demonstrate a fall from innocence or grace on the part of the protagonist. The young boy goes from a youthful and naive, but simplistic understanding of his world, into a state of greater wisdom and maturity about the nature of literature and life.

In the case of the young boy of "An Encounter," the young boy experiences this fall into maturity from ignorance and innocence as a positive thing. From the childish world of the wild, wild west dreams of the comic books he adores but feels guilty about reading, he comes to understand through "An Encounter" with a learned man that a greater potential exists in human relations with literature than the wildness of the American West or the staleness of Irish Catholicism, as embodied by Father Butler, earlier in the tale. In "Araby," however, the slightly older adolescent protagonist experiences a fall from his innate understanding of women. The pure, convent-attending woman turns out to have a darker side, despite his idealized image of her, and despite the simulation she is able to convey of purity to most of the world.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Fall From Innocence, a Fall From Eden: Assignment

Immediately, the protagonist, of "An Encounter" gains a sense of his 'specialness' from the man he encounter upon the road that he has largely lacked throughout the story, except for his slightly sense of guilt at reading comic books. But the old man he and his best friend encounter are like no one else they have ever met. The man "said he had all Sir Walter Scott's works and all Lord Lytton's works at home and never tired of reading them. 'Of course,' he said, 'there were some of Lord Lytton's works which boys couldn't read.' Mahony asked why couldn't boys read them - a question which agitated and pained me because I was afraid the man would think I was as stupid as Mahony." (3) the construction of the man's question indicates that Lord Lytton may write 'racy' material. However, the child, in this case, is mainly interested in seeming more mature than his friend Mahony, and reads the comment about literature only in terms of goodness or badness, intelligence and ignorance -- these are the terms with which he has been taught to view the world.

Structurally, the scene with the wandering yellow-toothed man parallels that of the first encounter with an older man in the tale. The first such encounter reveals he protagonist in a state of concern in front of Father Butler because his interests in comics and the west would seem ungodly. Butler wishes the boys to remain ignorant, rather than knowledgeable about violence and America. Now, before another authority who judges life and literature by different standards, the boy wishes to seem more learned, just as he wished to seem more pure and Christian before. The structure of the boy standing before a received authority upon text and life is the same, but the means of judgment have shifted… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Fall From Innocence, a Fall From Eden.  (2004, October 12).  Retrieved February 26, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/fall-innocence-eden/4769908

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"Fall From Innocence, a Fall From Eden."  12 October 2004.  Web.  26 February 2020. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/fall-innocence-eden/4769908>.

Chicago Style

"Fall From Innocence, a Fall From Eden."  Essaytown.com.  October 12, 2004.  Accessed February 26, 2020.