Allusion in Araby

For a relatively short story, "Araby" is rife with allusions, particularly ones to the Bible. There are explicit references to religion, such as when the bazaar is described as “a church after a service,” but there are more subtle references as well. Notably this can be seen with the inclusion of an apple tree in the garden where the neighborhood children play. This tree serves as an allusion to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the loss of innocence when Eve eats the apple.

Allusion Examples in Araby:

Araby 3

"The Arab's Farewell to his Steed..."   (Araby)

Many of Joyce's readers would understand his inclusion of Caroline Norton's poem and its relationship to "Araby." In the poem the Arab boy sells his beloved horse for money. However, in the end he regrets this decision and returns the gold to get his horse back. Such a reference hits on the boy's confusion between materialist and romantic love in "Araby."

"She held one of the spikes, bowing her head..."   (Araby)

The details in this section are reminiscent of the biblical scene during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, where the Roman soldiers are throwing dice over the possession of Christ's clothes. This image of the crucifixion is further supported by the spike (such as those in Christ's hands and feet) that Mangan's sister is holding and the earlier comparison of her to the Virgin Mary.

"a central apple-tree..."   (Araby)

Joyce's inclusion of an apple tree is a reference to the Garden of Eden from the Bible. Since the story of the apple involves Adam and Eve falling from grace by eating forbidden fruit and having their "eyes opened," the inclusion of this allusion helps provide context and foreshadow the events later in "Araby." In particular, pay attention to how many times Joyce uses the word "fall," especially around the end of the story.