Araby

NORTH RICHMOND STREET being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers' School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.

The former tenant of our house, a priest, had died in the back drawing-room. Air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms, and the waste room behind the kitchen was littered with old useless papers. Among these I found a few paper-covered books, the pages of which were curled and damp: The Abbot, by Walter Scott, The Devout Communnicant and The Memoirs of Vidocq. I liked the last best because its leaves were yellow. The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple-tree and a few straggling bushes under one of which I found the late tenant's rusty bicycle-pump. He had been a very charitable priest; in his will he had left all his money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister.

When the short days of winter came dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinners. When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of sky above us was the colour of ever-changing violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts echoed in the silent street. The career of our play brought us through the dark muddy lanes behind the houses where we ran the gauntlet of the rough tribes from the cottages, to the back doors of the dark dripping gardens where odours arose from the ashpits, to the dark odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse or shook music from the buckled harness. When we returned to the street light from the kitchen windows had filled the areas. If my uncle was seen turning the corner we hid in the shadow until we had seen him safely housed. Or if Mangan's sister came out on the doorstep to call her brother in to his tea we watched her from our shadow peer up and down the street. We waited to see whether she would remain or go in and, if she remained, we left our shadow and walked up to Mangan's steps resignedly. She was waiting for us, her figure defined by the light from the half-opened door. Her brother always teased her before he obeyed and I stood by the railings looking at her. Her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side.

Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlour watching her door. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen. When she came out on the doorstep my heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. I kept her brown figure always in my eye and, when we came near the point at which our ways diverged, I quickened my pace and passed her. This happened morning after morning. I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.

Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance. On Saturday evenings when my aunt went marketing I had to go to carry some of the parcels. We walked through the flaring streets, jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses of labourers, the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by the barrels of pigs' cheeks, the nasal chanting of street-singers, who sang a come-all-you about O'Donovan Rossa, or a ballad about the troubles in our native land. These noises converged in a single sensation of life for me: I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.

One evening I went into the back drawing-room in which the priest had died. It was a dark rainy evening and there was no sound in the house. Through one of the broken panes I heard the rain impinge upon the earth, the fine incessant needles of water playing in the sodden beds. Some distant lamp or lighted window gleamed below me. I was thankful that I could see so little. All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and, feeling that I was about to slip from them, I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: "O love! O love!" many times.

At last she spoke to me. When she addressed the first words to me I was so confused that I did not know what to answer. She asked me was I going to Araby. I forgot whether I answered yes or no. It would be a splendid bazaar, she said she would love to go.

"And why can't you?" I asked.

While she spoke she turned a silver bracelet round and round her wrist. She could not go, she said, because there would be a retreat that week in her convent. Her brother and two other boys were fighting for their caps and I was alone at the railings. She held one of the spikes, bowing her head towards me. The light from the lamp opposite our door caught the white curve of her neck, lit up her hair that rested there and, falling, lit up the hand upon the railing. It fell over one side of her dress and caught the white border of a petticoat, just visible as she stood at ease.

"It's well for you," she said.

"If I go," I said, "I will bring you something."

What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and sleeping thoughts after that evening! I wished to annihilate the tedious intervening days. I chafed against the work of school. At night in my bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the page I strove to read. The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me. I asked for leave to go to the bazaar on Saturday night. My aunt was surprised and hoped it was not some Freemason affair. I answered few questions in class. I watched my master's face pass from amiability to sternness; he hoped 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.

On Saturday morning I reminded my uncle that I wished to go to the bazaar in the evening. He was fussing at the hallstand, looking for the hat-brush, and answered me curtly:

"Yes, boy, I know."

As he was in the hall I could not go into the front parlour and lie at the window. I left the house in bad humour and walked slowly towards the school. The air was pitilessly raw and already my heart misgave me.

When I came home to dinner my uncle had not yet been home. Still it was early. I sat staring at the clock for some time and. when its ticking began to irritate me, I left the room. I mounted the staircase and gained the upper part of the house. The high cold empty gloomy rooms liberated me and I went from room to room singing. From the front window I saw my companions playing below in the street. Their cries reached me weakened and indistinct and, leaning my forehead against the cool glass, I looked over at the dark house where she lived. I may have stood there for an hour, seeing nothing but the brown-clad figure cast by my imagination, touched discreetly by the lamplight at the curved neck, at the hand upon the railings and at the border below the dress.

When I came downstairs again I found Mrs. Mercer sitting at the fire. She was an old garrulous woman, a pawnbroker's widow, who collected used stamps for some pious purpose. I had to endure the gossip of the tea-table. The meal was prolonged beyond an hour and still my uncle did not come. Mrs. Mercer stood up to go: she was sorry she couldn't wait any longer, but it was after eight o'clock and she did not like to be out late as the night air was bad for her. When she had gone I began to walk up and down the room, clenching my fists. My aunt said:

"I'm afraid you may put off your bazaar for this night of Our Lord."

At nine o'clock I heard my uncle's latchkey in the halldoor. I heard him talking to himself and heard the hallstand rocking when it had received the weight of his overcoat. I could interpret these signs. When he was midway through his dinner I asked him to give me the money to go to the bazaar. He had forgotten.

"The people are in bed and after their first sleep now," he said.

I did not smile. My aunt said to him energetically:

"Can't you give him the money and let him go? You've kept him late enough as it is."

My uncle said he was very sorry he had forgotten. He said he believed in the old saying: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." He asked me where I was going and, when I had told him a second time he asked me did I know The Arab's Farewell to his Steed. When I left the kitchen he was about to recite the opening lines of the piece to my aunt.

I held a florin tightly in my hand as I strode down Buckingham Street towards the station. The sight of the streets thronged with buyers and glaring with gas recalled to me the purpose of my journey. I took my seat in a third-class carriage of a deserted train. After an intolerable delay the train moved out of the station slowly. It crept onward among ruinous house and over the twinkling river. At Westland Row Station a crowd of people pressed to the carriage doors; but the porters moved them back, saying that it was a special train for the bazaar. I remained alone in the bare carriage. In a few minutes the train drew up beside an improvised wooden platform. I passed out on to the road and saw by the lighted dial of a clock that it was ten minutes to ten. In front of me was a large building which displayed the magical name.

I could not find any sixpenny entrance and, fearing that the bazaar would be closed, I passed in quickly through a turnstile, handing a shilling to a weary-looking man. I found myself in a big hall girdled at half its height by a gallery. Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall was in darkness. I recognised a silence like that which pervades a church after a service. I walked into the centre of the bazaar timidly. A few people were gathered about the stalls which were still open. Before a curtain, over which the words Cafe Chantant were written in coloured lamps, two men were counting money on a salver. I listened to the fall of the coins.

Remembering with difficulty why I had come I went over to one of the stalls and examined porcelain vases and flowered tea- sets. At the door of the stall a young lady was talking and laughing with two young gentlemen. I remarked their English accents and listened vaguely to their conversation.

"O, I never said such a thing!"

"O, but you did!"

"O, but I didn't!"

"Didn't she say that?"

"Yes. I heard her."

"0, there's a ... fib!"

Observing me the young lady came over and asked me did I wish to buy anything. The tone of her voice was not encouraging; she seemed to have spoken to me out of a sense of duty. I looked humbly at the great jars that stood like eastern guards at either side of the dark entrance to the stall and murmured:

"No, thank you."

The young lady changed the position of one of the vases and went back to the two young men. They began to talk of the same subject. Once or twice the young lady glanced at me over her shoulder.

I lingered before her stall, though I knew my stay was useless, to make my interest in her wares seem the more real. Then I turned away slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar. I allowed the two pennies to fall against the sixpence in my pocket. I heard a voice call from one end of the gallery that the light was out. The upper part of the hall was now completely dark.

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

Footnotes

  1. Disillusioned by what he sees at the bazaar, the boy finally sees himself as readers have seen him for much of the story. He realizes his own vanity and foolishness, his unprofitable use of time, the futility of life in Dublin, that Mangan's sister likely has no interest in him, and that there is no magical "Araby" in Ireland.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. This short scene represents the turning point of the story as the boy's situation worsens. Joyce's inclusion of English accents indicates that this Irish boy is in unfriendly territory because the British are running the bazaar. The short conversation they have is so ordinary as to be vulgar, and the boy begins to realize that his quest was not the sacred journey he thought it was.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. The boy began with a florin, valued at two shillings or 24 pence. After his roundtrip train ticket and the unnecessary spending of a shilling at the entrance, he has two pennies and a sixpence, in total valued at eight pence. This small sum proves ironic in that he is left with not enough to purchase a gift, even if one were available.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. Joyce termed this type of final scene as an epiphany in that it provides a moment of sudden revelation or insight even in a apparently ordinary situation or conversation. Joyce's epiphany shows how the boy acquires an intuitive grasp of reality: he is defeated; he failed his quest to buy a gift, but most of all, his self-deception and ego defeated him by making him believe that his quest was sacred. This epiphany represents the boy's fall from innocence and his change into an adolescent dealing with the harsh realities of life.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. Since Joyce has made the comparison between Araby and a church explicit, then this line provides a very stark image of how money and religion are mixed in this place: The two men counting money inside a church likely alludes to the story of Jesus Christ in Matthew 21:12-13 in which he throws the money changers out of the temple, and a "salver" refers to the plate on which a wine cup sits for communion in church.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  6. The word "fall" makes another appearance in this passage, again supporting the notion that like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the boy is about to experience his own "fall" from innocence.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  7. There are a few words in this paragraph that provide clues, but Joyce still uses a rather specific simile to ensure that readers make the connection between the Araby bazaar and a church. However, the quiet and the dark makes the scene more closely resemble a church after its service has finished.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  8. This train station in south Dublin is now known as the Dublin Pearse railway station. Notice how in this paragraph Joyce uses certain words to indicate the boy's making a special journey: "twinkling," "special," and "magical." This convey a sense of magic about the boy's quest and builds up our expectations as he arrives at the bazaar.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  9. Throughout Europe, such cafés typically had singers, dancers, and other entertainers perform for patrons. The food and entertainment were not of very high quality, so the presence of this café at Araby suggests that the bazaar not the grand wonder that the boy has made it out to be.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  10. Florins are a form of currency that originated in the city of Florence during the Renaissance. The coins had a likeness of St. John the Baptist on one side and one of the Virgin Mary on the other. This little fact not only subtly supports the confusion between the material and the romantic in the story, but florins from the late 19th century also depicted the British Queen Victoria on one side with a phrase on the other: "by the grace of God, defender of the faith." Since Ireland was still under British rule, this subtly reminds readers of colonialism, because the young Irish-Catholic boy has to carry around a coin that represents the authority of the Queen and the British (and Protestant) Church of England.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  11. 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."

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  12. Instead of saying that the uncle is drunk, Joyce lets the reader figure this out along with the boy. This technique also serves another purpose: it shows how the boy has started to correctly interpret signs, demonstrating some growth on his part. This development foreshadows his final interpretation of his trip to Araby.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  13. The name "Mercer" is derived from the Old French word "mercier" or "merchier," which means a merchant. Joyce chose this name to continue the theme of mercantile love. Notice how Mrs. Mercer is also the widow of a pawnbroker, and she also collects used stamps to sell for money to donate to the church. Again, the material is mixing with the religious similar to how it was in the paragraph about the boy's shopping trip with his aunt.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  14. The color brown appears for the third time in the story when the boy imagines seeing Mangan's sister. Notice how his image of her is an echo of the earlier scenes, in which she is depicted religiously (the lamplight at the curved neck) and sexually (the border below the dress).

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  15. "Araby" is not only the name of the bazaar (a market in Middle Eastern countries). The boy romanticizes Araby as a symbol of the mystical allure of the Middle East. We've seen how his romantic and religious love have manifested thus far in how he imagines himself as a knight on a holy quest, and this continues when he offers to attend the bazaar in order to purchase a gift for Mangan's sister.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  16. The Freemasons are an international order that was established on the principles of mutual help and friendship. The aunt's surprise and apprehension is based on Freemasonry's position as primarily a Protestant organization. Since Ireland is predominantly Roman Catholic, such organizations would be feared and mistrusted at this time and place.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  17. In Roman Catholicism and other religious or spiritual organizations, a "retreat" refers to location of privacy for a period of seclusion that allows the participants time to pray, meditate, receive advice, and discover ways to improve their moral lives.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  18. The word choice here emphasizes the boy's romantic fascination with Araby (and the enchanting idea of the Middle East). His romantic quest has consumed his reality and hindered his ability to operate on a day-to-day basis. However, there is also a hint of a new understanding on the boy's part; he appears critical of his own past, as demonstrated by his recognition of his "innumerable follies."

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  19. A "petticoat" is a light, loose undergarment typically worn by women underneath a skirt or dress. The inclusion of this detail at the end of a paragraph full of religious imagery parallels the girl's twisting of the silver bracelet in the first line, effectively mixing the religious and sexual imagery that will continue to define Mangan's sister for the rest of the story.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  20. 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.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  21. The theme of consumerism and materialism occurs again in this passage. The narrator’s promise to Mangan’s sister suggests that he believes expressions of love can be contained in objects and traded like commodities.

    — Wesley James
  22. Since the girl has just explained why she cannot go, this expression appears to carry overtones of envy and potentially bitterness. However, the boy appears to not notice this because of how deluded he is in his own fantasy.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  23. As mentioned earlier with the romantic notions of the bazaar, this statement represents the foundation of story's climax. The boy makes a vow to the girl, which strongly suggests the quest of a knight.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  24. 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.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  25. The strong presence of religion in this paragraph is continued as Joyce describes the light from the lamp shining on her hair, which gives readers an image of a halo and a light streaming from heaven.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  26. Joyce builds on the theme of religion in the story here by showing how the girl's religious retreat takes precedence over her desire to enjoy the bazaar. The twirling of her silver bracelets also hints at a kind of nervous, and possibly sexual, energy that her religious obligations have also suppressed.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  27. The Araby bazaar was a highly anticipated, annual event in Dublin in the 19th century that introduced foreign concepts such as music, literature, styles, and goods. Joyce's bazaar, Araby, was called "A Grand Oriental Fete: Araby in Dublin" and was held in May, 1894, to benefit a local hospital.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  28. Notice how the boy personifies his senses by saying that they are the ones who have the desire instead of him. This strategy gives readers the impression that the boy is trying to separate his mind from his body in order to understand his confusion.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  29. Joyce uses the veil to encapsulate the blinding and stifling nature of religion. The metaphorical veil represents the narrator’s lack of clarity surrounding his feelings for Mangan’s sister due to his religious upbringing that has taught him to suppress those kinds of emotions.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  30. This paragraph exemplifies an important modernist technique: Joyce shows the boys confusion after she speaks to him by making the prose itself abrupt and fragmented (stunned). This style is again a reaction against much of the 19th-century Victorian traditions that simply described all that the characters were feeling.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  31. Alone in the house (a classic masturbatory situation), the boy nearly engages in sexual activity. Instead, he presses his hands together and murmurs like he's in church. The culmination of his activity shows how the boy's religious upbringing has so suppressed his sexual feelings, with the religious completely obscuring the sexual in his mind and body.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  32. The shift from the previous scene to this one occurs without a transitional paragraph; in fact, Joyce doesn't try to portray the story of "Araby" within a continuous time frame; we don't know how much time occurs throughout this entire narrative. This is characteristic of modernist writers, who preferrer to focus on intense, emotional moments rather than the 19th-century, Victorian style of providing specific details about weather, clothing, food, views, houses, etc. However, the lack of time-focused transitions can sometimes make reading a modernist work more difficult than other kinds of literature with clearly detailed timelines.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  33. Joyce combines the story's themes of romantic, religious, and materialist love in this paragraph through a routine shopping trip with the boy's aunt. Notice how the boy imagines this mundane task to be more like a sacred adventure, much like a knight on a medieval quest for the Holy Grail (the "chalice" he mentions).

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  34. Joyce's choice of words in this sentence masterfully conveys the boy's confusion about love and sexuality. The language the boy uses here is overly sentimental and even a little ridiculous, and he even ruins the mood of the simile by incorrectly calling the harp strings "wires."

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  35. Note the religious terms the boy uses when thinking about Mangan's sister: "litanies," "chalice," "adoration," etc. While the narrator professes to not understand certain things, readers have a deeper understanding of the significance of these religious undertones and the situation in which the boy finds himself: he is struggling with his conceptions of romantic and religious love.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  36. A "come-all-you" was a type of street song that dealt with current events and popular heroes. These songs were also sung in pubs and other popular gathering places.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  37. The color brown returns to describe the figure of Mangan's sister. This association informs us that she's older than the boys, and consequently the drab lifelessness of Dublin has already started to affect her.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  38. The choice of "Mangan" for the girl's last name also serves another interesting purpose. In Gaelic, the family name "Mangan" refers to someone with an abundant amount of hair on their head. English readers may see a connection between the original Gaelic "mong," which means "hair," and the word "mane."

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  39. The inclusion of "railings" here is important because Joyce could count on his readers making the connection with the altar rails in Catholic churches. These rails separate the congregation from the altar and serve as locations for the faithful to kneel, pray, and take communion. By standing by these rails to watch Mangan's sister, the boy conflates her with the Virgin Mary as an object of religious veneration. However, he doesn't understand or recognize—perhaps due to repressive, religious influences—his sexual attraction to her. This confusion persists and is elaborated on in more detail.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  40. By "the areas," Joyce means the places in front of many Dublin houses below the level of the sidewalk. Such spaces are also prevalent in the older brownstone buildings in New York City.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  41. The repetition of the letter "d" in these words is an example of alliteration. This literary device has many uses, and the sound here helps add to the cadence of the passage and anchor the dark descriptions in the readers' minds.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  42. The boys' bodies glowing is an important image to contrast the dreary adjectives and descriptions Joyce puts into this paragraph. Toward the end of this passage, readers will notice that Joyce repeats the word "shadow" three times. This repetition, coupled with the other adjectives here, portray the people of Dublin as ghosts. However, since the boys "played till [their] bodies glowed," readers know that they are still alive; their youth and souls haven't yet been claimed by the dreariness of Dublin.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  43. In this third paragraph, Joyce shows us the dreariness of Dublin by using increasingly darker and dreadful adjectives to describe the setting: "sombre houses," "feeble lanterns," "silent street," "dark muddy lanes," "dark dripping gardens," etc.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  44. The rusty bicycle-pump has been hailed as one of the treasures in Joyce's work. The rust on the pump represents the passing of time: the comparison of the priest's garden to Eden as After the Fall reinforces Joyce's position that the time of the Church has passed. He also foreshadows the boy's confusion of religion and sex by positioning the phallic, rusty bicycle pump within the garden.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  45. Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (1831–1915) founded the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), which served as the main proponent of republicanism during the campaign for Ireland's independence. Rossa earned the nickname “Dynamite Rossa” for organizing one of the first Irish bombings of an English city.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  46. Many Christian Brothers' Schools were established throughout the world in the 19th century. The particular reference here is the O’Connell School, established in 1829 in North Richmond Street. It is the oldest of these schools in Dublin.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  47. Blindness supports one of the major themes in "Araby." In this first sentence, “blind” has two meanings. Literally, it refers to a cul-de-sac or dead-end street. However, figuratively, Joyce refers to the condition of the boy's, and other's, relation to reality, a kind of short-sighted naivety.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  48. The frequent hypocrisy of religion is a familiar theme in Joyce's work. This description hides a disconcerting question that Joyce uses to point of the hypocrisy of religion: if the priest was so charitable, how could he have had so much money at the time of his death? While the narrator doesn't understand such hypocrisy, readers know that "all" suggests a lot of money, particularly when referring to donations to institutions, and that leaving one's possessions to family, such as the sister here, is not true charity.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  49. Joyce's inclusion of an apple tree is an obvious 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.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  50. Joyce gives readers a first look at the boy's romantic and naive view of life in this line. Readers can understand the the allegorical and symbolic meanings of the texts, and this line quickly reveals the identity of the narrator: He is a young boy who lacks an understanding of such figurative language and doesn't use it self-consciously.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  51. Many of Joyce's adjectives in "Araby" create a drab and dull atmosphere. This technique is not subtle, and we can see here that choices like "musty," "waste," and "useless" all convey the lifelessness that surrounds the boy and pervades the neighborhood.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  52. Joyce uses the house as a representation for all of Ireland. Since the previous tenant was a priest, who has since died, Joyce implies that the Church is also dead. Joyce hated Roman Catholicism, and the influences it had on him and others fuels one of his main themes in this short story as the young boy struggles to separate the secular from the sacred.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  53. "Araby" is one of the stories in Dubliners, and Joyce uses the color brown frequently throughout these stories. The color here creates a discouraging and hopeless kind of mood for the story.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  54. In establishing the setting in this first paragraph, Joyce presents the street as a representation of the Irish soul, uninhabited and detached. He personifies the houses here, making them more conscious and arguably more alive than the residents.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  55. 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.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  56. Sir Walter Scott's historical novel The Abbot, written in 1820, presents the life of Mary Queen of Scots in a religious and romantic way. The central character, Roland Graeme, is a young man who becomes involved in adventure and romance, much like the narrator of "Araby," who goes on his own quest. Joyce's inclusion of this text represents the complexity and confusion of romantic, religious, and materialist love that the boy faces in "Araby."

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  57. Francois-Jules Vidocq published The Memoirs of Vidocq in 1829. This popular 19th-century novel was about a Parisian Police Commissioner and thief who was able to conceal his own crimes. The book's inclusion here presents and supports the theme of deception in the story. The presence of these three novels further strengthen the deception, because readers can understand their purpose but the boy himself remains ignorant of their meaning and influence.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  58. The narrator’s feelings of love for Mangan’s sister interrupt his daily activities, many of which include religious rituals. Joyce suggests that religion tries to suppress and ultimately confuses the boy’s romantic and sexual feelings. As seen with the earlier comparison of Mangan's sister to the Virgin Mary, the boy's struggle to separate his secular emotions from his religious upbringing continues as a pervasive theme in "Araby."

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  59. The Devout Communicant could refer to one of three texts with the same name. However, the more likely text is the popular Catholic work written by Pacificus Baker, a Franciscan Friar, published in 1761 and noted for its pious language that perhaps influences how the boy talks about Mangan's sister. The important take-away from this book's inclusion in this list of three is that it influences boy's language and perspective on life.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  60. A “litany” is a resonant or repetitive chant. Joyce uses this word to invoke its religious connotations, as a “litany” is also a specific type of prayer in a church service. By doing so, he connects religion with consumerism and materialist culture. This word choice parallels the narrators own inability to separate religion from secular activities and desires.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  61. In this passage, Joyce uses olfactory cues to create a run-down, working-class image of the city. Memory is closely linked to smell and certain scents can conjure strong emotions, as shown in this passage. Smell became a more prominent mode of representing sensory perception among modernists in the early 20th century.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
  62. Joyce was raised as a Catholic in predominantly Catholic Ireland in the late 19th century. As he grew older, he rejected religion and criticized it in his work. There is much religious imagery in "Araby," acting as a sort of imposing and inescapable source of anxiety for the narrator.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor