In the opening of the story, James Joyce carefully described the protagonist’s neighborhood and surroundings in two paragraphs. As he used real names like North Richmond Street and Christian brothers School, thus by reading the first paragraph, readers are able to figure out a map of the community in which the protagonist lived. Then he went on to lead us to the late priest’s drawing-room. The detailed description of the room appealed to our senses. Following the footsteps of the protagonist, the readers can smell the musty air of the room, see the littered kitchen, touch the curl and damp books found in the kitchen. This realistic description enables the reader to identify with the characters of the story.
The first two paragraphs establish a gray still atmosphere, which was common to Dublin’s neighborhoods these days. The boy is presented to us as a curious boy that discovers one detail after the other in his new house (the rusted bicycle pump, the books…); He is looking for something in his life. The fact he liked one book over the other because his pages were yellow imply to us he is not mature enough yet to see things under the surface but only interested in the things above. The street he lives in is a blind street. This also implies the protagonist’s blindness that is being enlightened at the end of the story and suddenly sees things differently.
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The Lottery By Shirley Jackson. The first few lines in The Lottery, establish a very different atmosphere than the one established in Araby. In the first paragraph, Jackson describes the clear and sunny June morning with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day. The mood is very optimistic as we can see and everything seems to be just perfect (in the opposite of the truth reviled in front of us at the end). In the first paragraph, we can feel through Jackson’s writing the warm sun rays touching us. We can smell the flowers that are blossoming profusely and can paint the richly green grass in our minds.
The people appear in the first paragraph as villagers gathering in the square for a fun purpose as the lottery. In the first reading, we have a very strong feeling of happiness in the air. It is only at the second reading that we start asking ourselves questions about the first paragraph; such as why are the children picking stones and why does the lottery takes two hours and even a few days in other towns. In opposite to Araby which has a dark night atmosphere throughout the whole story and ends with the enlightenment of the boy, the story begins with light and ends with depth/darkness.