The Theme of Quest Explored in “Araby’ and Atonement In James Joyce’s “Araby and Ian McEwan’s Atonement both authors express that that the characters mature and grow through quests. In Joyce’s “Araby’ the boy goes on a quest to the bazaar to meet Managan’s sisters whom he is very interested in. However, because he is a young boy and does not leave his much, and has no source of income there are limitations on his freedom, which ultimately affect his quest. In McEwan’s Atonement Briony goes through a life near long quest in an attempt to epair the damage in which she inflicted on her sister Cecelia, Robbie and her family.
However, similar to the predicament the boy from Joyce’s “Araby’ goes through, Briony is never able to formally make amends between Cecelia and Robbie because both died in the war. In Joyce’s “Araby’ the boy wants to go to the bazaar and meet Managan’s sister. As stated by the boy in “Araby’ “l asked for leave to got to the bazaar on Saturday night. My aunt was surprised and hoped it was not some Freemanson affair. I answered a few questions in class. I watched my master’s face pass amiability to sternness; he hoped I was I was not beginning to idle. I could not call my wandering thoughts together.
I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire seemed to me child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play’. (93 Joyce) This quote shows that the boy is expressing his independence so that he can go and fulfill his quest to meet Managan’s sister at the bazaar. Joyce adds the details about the boys aunt being surprised that the boy would ask such a thing ecause Joyce is showing the reader that the boy has never asked to go do something like this on his own, he expresses that he is an adolescent and by asking his aunt go to the bazaar he is maturing and growing as a person.
Also another key detail that the boy is growing as a person as a result of his quest is because he is experiencing feelings for Managan’s sister. As stated in “Araby”: A Quest for Meaning by John Freimarck “In “Araby’ the boy ignores the reality of his bleak, winter surroundings and allows the word ‘araby to suggest the exciting Summer world of romance”. Freimarck 366) In this quote Freimarck is exploring the idea that the boy is growing up because he is experiencing the feelings of love and romance, feelings that are only experienced by adults.
Thus this shows that because of the boys quest to go the bazaar and meet Managan’s sister the boy shows that he is growing up and maturing and it is shows through his actions and his feelings. In McEwan’s Atonement Briony, as a young child, makes a terrible mistake of accusing Robbie of rape, a crime in which he did not commit and because of these accusations he goes to Jail. She destroys her relationship with her sister Cecelia, Robbie and her family. As stated by Briony in Atonement “A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended. (McEwan) In this quote McEwan makes a comparison to the reader that once a material object is broken it is very difficult to pick up the pieces and put it back together and make it look like it was repair it to a point as if nothing happened at all, which is what Briony is on a quest for. By Briony accepting the fact that that her relationship will never be the same ith Cecelia, Robbie, or her family is a part of the growing process of accepting the responsibility for what she did and realizing things will never be the same.
Also, by Briony is on a quest, trying desperately to make amends with Cecelia, Robbie and her family shows real signs of growth and maturity in Briony. Throughout much of her adult life Briony is on quest to make things right between her Cecelia Robbie and the rest of her family. As stated by Peter Mathews in his “The Impression of Deeper Darkness: Ian McEwan’s Atonement” “It is her torturous longing or atonement that places Briony in a kind of psychological “hell. ” McEwan symbolizes this agony in a subtle but consistent foregrounding of the symbolic number three”. Mathews 156) In this quote Mathews is telling the reader that throughout Brionys quest she is being tortured because she fails to personally make amends to all those whom she hurt when she blatantly lied about what really happened that night with Robbie. However, because she was tortured for so long during her quest she has grown and matured because of it. In both “Araby and Atonement the theme of quest lays a major role in the development and maturity in both Briony and the boy.
Through their experiences on their quests both characters grew and matured from adolescent children into adults. In the case of Briony she grows on her quest through suffering because she will never have the chance to make amends with Cecilia and Robbie because they each died prematurely. In the case of the boy in “Araby’ he grows through expressing his independence to go to the bazaar with Managan’s sister. In the end each both Briony and the boy both grow as people as a result of their quests.