Allusions In Araby Research Paper

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A Lost Innocence: Religious Allusions in James Joyce’s “Araby”

In the short story “Araby,” James Joyce uses religious and biblical allusions to portray a young narrator’s feelings about a girl. Through these allusions, readers gather an image of the narrator’s adoration of his friend’s, Mangan’s, sister. James Joyce’s allusions to the Bible and religion relate to the idolized image the narrator has of a girl. As soon as “Araby” begins, the religious allusions do also. Joyce immediately puts readers in a religious frame of mind as the narrator speaks of the Christian Brother’s School and the priest who formerly lived in his house. Shortly after a religious mindset is formed, the narrator speaks of “the wild garden behind the house [containing] …show more content…

Joyce first reveals to readers how obsessed the narrator is with sacred allusions to a chalice and a prayer. The narrator tells readers he “imagined that [he] bore [his] chalice safely through a throng of foes” (598) as he remembers the girl when he is making his way through the crowded market. The chalice is a biblical reference to the cup from which Jesus drank during the Last Supper in Matthew 6. This sacred reference “elucidates the importance and value the boy places on the very name of his love” (Flynn). This allusion to the chalice allows readers to see how sacred the girl is to the young narrator. Shortly after this, while the narrator is in his room he “[presses] the palms of his hands together until they [tremble], murmuring: O love! O love!” (598). This semblance of prayer also shows how sacredly the narrator upholds the girl he likes. However, she soons tells him she cannot attend Araby, a bazaar, because “there would be a retreat that week in her convent” (598), making readers assume she is going to be a nun. If she is going to be a nun, then the narrator has no chance of dating or marrying her, and his obsession with her is pointless. Unfortunately, he does not come to realize this until the very end of the

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