Loss Of Innocence In James Joyce's Araby the boys loss of innocence may be confusing and even painful but at the same time it is important. It begins his journey into adulthood. The boy in Araby is experiencing something all young men experience, the first crush. It is a time in his life where he is having new feelings, and trying to express those feelings to the object of his affection is next to impossible. Even the simple act of watching Mangan's sister brings up emotions in the boy. To say the least the boy is overcome when Mangan's sister actually speaks to him.
He is in fact so overcome that he doesn't even know how he answered the girl. To think a girl he has secretly watched every day and shyly followed from a distance while he walked to school is actually showing him some attention. Unfortunately for the boy the attention is mistaken for something more than it is. As the boy waits for the day he can go to the bazaar, he thinks of nothing exceptMangan's sister. The boy sees her when he is going to sleep, when he wakes, and in school in his papers. The boy wants nothing more than to see Mangan's sister again, but, in his mind for him to do that he needs to get her something from Araby.
The boy is so charged from his encounter that he says he wishes to annihilate the days separating him from going to Araby and ultimately Mangan's sister. Finally when the day has arrived that he can go to Araby he has to wait for Uncle to get home. To the boys dismay his Uncle gets home late and is drunk. The boy is apparently familiar with this situation and know show to handle his Uncle in this state. The boy now waits even longer so that his Uncle can finish some of his diner and get in a better mood. Finally after the boys mother tells the boys uncle to give him the money he is on his way.
The boy goes to the local train station and boards a special train that goes to and from Araby. When the boy arrived it was ten minutes to ten. Knowing the bazaar closed at ten he went through the shilling entrance instead of the six penny entrance and into the center of the hall. After a few moments the boy went to a booth that was selling porcelain vases and tea sets.
While there the boy noticed the female attendant was speaking with two young men and remarked that they had English accents. The boy vaguely listened to their conversation. It is obvious in the book that these two men are flirting with the girl. It is at this point that the boy realizes exactly what they are doing. He then realizes that this is what he was doing with Mangan's sister and how trivial it was. This is where he goes through his epiphany.
The boy realizes that what he said to Mangan's sister had no more meaning than what these men and woman were talking about. The boy is flooded with anguish and anger. He was acting in a way he never thought he would. As Joyce puts it "Derided by Vanity." It is through vanity that the boy loses a little of his innocence. The loss of innocence is something we all go through. It is the gateway to understanding and life experience.
It allows us to become wiser and hopefully pass on our wisdom through our deeds and our actions so that those that come after us are less apt to make the same mistakes. Even though a first crush may not seem that important compared to other things we go through in life, it is. It is because we all have to start somewhere.