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James Joyce's Araby and Eveline Essay

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James Joyce's "Araby" and "Eveline"


In 'Araby' and 'Eveline' Joyce uses religious symbols to show the importance of the Catholic religion in both of the main characters' lives. Both of these stories take place in Dublin, Ireland, a place that is very strong in its belief in the Catholic religion. In 'Araby,' the imagery of the infamous 'Fall' is presented to the reader within the second paragraph to indicate its importance. The themes of religious masses can be found in 'Eveline.' The concept of the Catholic Ash Wednesday is presented throughout both 'Araby' and 'Eveline.'

     The second paragraph of ?Araby? presents the idea of the Adam and Eve story known as ?The Fall.? ?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.? (21/14-17). In the Catholic religion, the Adam and Eve story is thought to be the time when sin became present in the world. It is the time in Catholicism when the innocent life that Adam and Eve shared in the beautiful garden, violently changed into a life of responsibility, pain, heartbreak, suffering, and most important in the Catholic religion, separation from God. This transformation can not only be seen in the story of Adam and Eve, but in the change from the innocent life of a child to the turbulent life of an adult. The latter change is the one that the main character of ?Araby? is going through. Joyce is trying to show how important this theme was by repeating the word ?fall? throughout the entire story. Catholic religion plays an important role in the main character?s life, because the Catholic religion gives specific standards for believers to follow. This religion, along with its rules and regulations, is the one that the main character was raised by, and he feels obligated to follow them, even through the very tough time of adolescence. In the story, the boy becomes infatuated with a girl. This crush on Mangan?s sister is very tough on the main character for many reasons. The first being that she does not share the love he has for her, and secondly, his crush conflicts with his strict religion. He becomes obsessed with her, watching her every move. The girl has taken over his every thought, which is why the crush conflicts with the Catholic religion. Catholicism is the worship of a single, all-powerful God. When ...


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...hooses to live the life of duty and responsibility, proving that her belief in the Catholic religion is indeed something she thinks is important; and also when she gives up her chance to escape to a carefree life, she gives up something else important to her, Frank.

     The above examples come together to show that the Catholic religion plays a major role in the lives of Joyce?s main characters. He uses repeated words and religious symbols to show just how important Catholicism is to the lives of the population of Dublin, Ireland. Joyce intentionally uses religion as the main conflict in the situations in both of the stories. James Joyce believes Catholicism is important, and he uses the religion to affect the characters? lives. Without having the Catholic background both Eveline and the main character in ?Araby? have, their choices concerning their life would have been less difficult. Instead of having to decide between their religion and their desires, they would only have to consider their desires. Joyce believes that the Catholic religion affects the characters and their situations, which is the reason why he writes in religious symbols throughout ?Araby? and ?Eveline.?


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