In the courses of our studies in English literature, it is quite natural for us to often come across the novels of the great writer, James Joyce. In his works, we find the fact that both 'Symbolism' and 'Realism' share significant weights. In his novels, each place, or even a modifier, bears not only its own unique implication but further induces a variety of subjective interpretations from its readers. Among his works, I think a short story titled 'Araby' shows well of these characteristics. Following is my researches on the sources of symbolism and the implications suggested by 'Araby'.
At first, I would like to focus on the words and phrases used in "Araby". As for "the priest"(a Roman Catholic Father, whose death appears in the introduction part of the novel), we can think of the comments on his property and furnitures that reads, "He had been a very charitable priest; in his will he had left all his money to institutions and the furnitures of his house to his sister". I think it is a sneer, for it implies that the priest, by having a fortune, might not have been faithful to his position and also, by handing his furnitures over to his sister, might not have yet been free from secular ties of family relations. This priest can be seen as a symbol of degenerated Ireland Catholic. (Although that may be regarded as an overly sensitive interpretation coming from the obsessions on symbolism, I think we had batter not miss such interpretation seeing from the fact that the writer presented those sentences in the introduction part of such a short novel. As an old priest, even if he had been inherited a big fortune, he might have donated the fortune to the society if he had been charitable. It is somehow not delightful to see a wealthy minister, who is supposed to be poor and honorable, especially in the times of poverty.) .
Secondly, let us review his comments on the books. The boy finds old books in the priest's room(Among these I found a few paper-covered books; the pages of which were curled and damp: The Abbot, by Walter Scott, The Devour Communicant and The Memoirs of Vidocq.