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Metaphor in Araby

Metaphors are present throughout the story, and are often used in conjunction with other literary devices such as imagery and personification. Many of the metaphors draw from Catholic Church tradition, alluding to scenes and themes in the Bible. Other examples of metaphor in “Araby” can be found in Joyce’s description of the other houses, where he likens their facades to human expressions.

Metaphor Examples in Araby:


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"falling, lit up the hand upon the railing. It fell..."   (Araby)

This sentence melds the boy's confused feelings of religion and sexuality, and builds on two earlier established elements of the story: the Catholic altar rails and the Garden of Eden comparison. Here, the placement of "railing" between "falling" and "fall" strongly suggest and foreshadow the boy's coming fall from innocence.

"set the boys free..."   (Araby)

Joyce was a fierce critic of the Roman Catholic Church, and this specific word choice here provides a supportive example of this position: This little phrase suggests that religion has imprisoned the boys, and they are temporarily set free at the end of each day.

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