Monday, September 2, 2019
Arby Essay -- essays papers
Arby James Joyce's use of religious imagery and religious symbols in "Araby" is compelling. That the story is concerned somehow with religion is obvious, but the particulars are vague, and its message becomes all the more interesting when Joyce begins to mingle romantic attraction with divine love. "Araby" is a story about both wordly love and religious devotion, and its weird mix of symbols and images details the relationship--sometimes peaceful, sometimes tumultuos--between the two. In this essay, I will examine a few key moments in the story and argue that Joyce's narrator is ultimately unable to resolve the differences between them. While the story's concern with religion seems to speak for itself, a few biographical details bout Joyce's own youth and his religious background help inform any reading of "Araby." We know that he was both drawn to and repulsed by the Catholic church in Ireland, and that just before taking orders, he opted to give up a life in the church and chose instead to devote himself to writing fiction. In the end, Joyce saw the church as something confining, something that imposed rules rather than freeing a creative spirit. As a writer radically inclined to break the rules even of fiction, the rules of the church were too severe for him. We also know that Joyce was a very sensual person who wanted nothing to do with celibacy or abstinance; his youthful marauding in the brothels of Dublin suggests that the church's proscriptions of sexual, or even romantic, activity were also too much for him. Some of these issues show up early on in the story "Araby." To begin with, the narrator--the voice of a young Joyce, surely, if not entirely autobiographical--lives in a house whose former t... ...r, the boy has an epiphany--a sudden realization--while in the baazar: "gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity" (44). Ordinarily, epiphanies are religious moments characterized by a sudden "seeing of the light." Here, however, the boy reaches his ephiphany--as does the story--while gazing into the darkness at a baazar. If the baazar is initially opposed to religion, it is here explicitly likened to religion. The ending of the story is almost as ambiguous as its back-and-forth treatment of religion and romance. It is not clear exactly what he has realized, nor is it clear whether there is a clear distinction between what is religious and what is romantic, between what is sacred and divine and what is worldly and base. But perhaps Joyce, in whom these two elements were equally confused, would have wanted it that way.