Symbolism Used in James Joyce's Dubliners

2126 Words Mar 28th, 2012 9 Pages
Tommy Campbell
Fr. Williams
Eng 241
26 February 2011
Symbolism

Symbolism is a powerful tool used by people every day to force people to look past the obvious and find the deeper meaning. Symbolism is used by authors, musicians, priests, and many others. James Joyce, a well-known Irish author, uses symbolism repeatedly throughout his collection of short stories published in 1916. In these stories, titled Dubliners, Joyce uses symbolism not only to enhance the stories, but to also show the hidden, underlying message of each story without coming out and saying it directly. Joyce’s stories are centered on the problems of Dublin and through his use of symbolism Joyce is able to focus attention on what problem each story is addressing. James
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From the opening sentence Joyce gives his readers and idea of what to expect from his stories. Examining the term gives a deeper meaning that enhances the story. At the boy’s home, “The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple tree and a…rusty bicycle pump” (21). The apple-tree symbolizes Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, self-deception followed by self-knowledge. The bicycle pump symbolizes the kid’s pumped up, full of hot air, fascination with the girl and then being deflated. The apple tree and bicycle pump are clues to the outcome of the story. The boy also discovers three important and symbolic books in his house. The Abbot is about the worship of a special lady, The Devout Communicant is about worship and The Memoirs of Vidocq is a detective story that usually ends with the truth being revealed. All three stories are hinting at what will happen to the boy at the end of the story. The boy goes to Araby, a market of goods from all over the world, to buy the girl a gift in order to prove his love to her, but when he finally gets there the market’s closing in ten minutes. The boy “heard a voice call from one end of the gallery that the light was out” (27). Joyce frequently uses light to symbolize an epiphany or realization. In this case, the boy realizes the girl does not really have feelings for him as he had convinced himself to believe. The light provides the reader with the moment the boy
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