Essay on Symbols in James Joyce's "Araby"

658 Words Sep 12th, 2006 3 Pages
James Joyce's Symbolic "Araby" James Joyce's "Araby", a story filled with symbolic images of church, religion, death, and decay. It is the story of youthful, sacred adoration of a young boy directed at a nameless girl, known only as Mangan's sister. After visiting "Araby", the mystical place in which he is trying to find the beauty missing from the church as well as his soul, the young narrator realizes his infatuation is misguided as the pain of that realization takes hold. The story takes us to a place with images of a desolate, decaying setting. "North Richmond Street, being blind…" this being a dead end representing the end of his own faith. "An uninhabited house...( an empty church)" "The other houses of the street, …show more content…
He finds this place to be barren and desolate like that of the declining church. "Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall was in darkness. I recognized a silence like that which pervades a church after a service." (616) It is here where the young narrator starts to see that his faith and love have been veiled. "Remembering with difficulty why I had come I went over to one of the stalls and examined porcelain vases and flowered tea-sets." (616) He finds "two men were counting money on a salver: a tray like that used in serving Holy Communion." (616) This being a symbol of those that lent money in the Holy Temple. His attention is captured by the girl attending the stall. His misguided faith then transfers over to this girl whose words are confusing and worldly. The young narrator then reaches the epiphany. All of the love and adoration he had felt for the nameless girl vanishes and the reality that his faith and dreams of that Holiness are not the same. "Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger." (617)

Works Cited
Joyce, James. "Araby". 1914. Published in: Literature An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, Ninth Edition. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Copyright 2005.
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