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Explication of Araby by James Joyce

            "Araby," a short story written by James Joyce, is about the life of a sexually frustrated boy and his obsession with a young girl. The boy, who is nameless in this story, goes against his religious beliefs because of his sexual desires. We, as the readers, see the boy's actions as he sets through a journey of new experiences, one being sexually aroused. James Joyce uses religious imagery and sexual implications to make us understand how the boy's religious background impacts the way he handles the challenges he faces and how it is very hard for him to find his true self.
             The main character of this short story is deeply infatuated by his friend, Mangan's, sister. The author uses sexual implications and religious symbols throughout the story, which helps explain the instances the boy has with the girl. From the beginning of the story, especially in paragraph five, Joyce explains how the protagonist's "eyes were often full of tears." (pg. 87) This sentence relates to the boy's feelings about the girl, that because he was "filled with tears," he never could have seen clearly what he actually thought about the girl. He doesn't fully understand his feelings, keeps having conflicts within himself and describes it as "confused adoration." (pg. 87) In the scene in paragraph five, the boy goes shopping and explains how the streets were filled with "drunk men and bargaining women." The religious imagery in this scene is when the boy explains, " I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes." (pg. 87) A chalice is a religious cup, something that is very holy. He uses the word chalice to compare it to the girl, how he is holding her greatly and protecting her from everything. The boy also describes how his "boy was like a harp" and explains how "her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires." (pg. 87) This is where Joyce uses the religious symbols and connects it with sexual implications.

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