Analysis of Use of Religious References in James Joyces Araby Story

2021-05-12 09:46:48
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James Joyces Araby is a story that talks about a young boy in his early adolescent life. The boy finds life boring, and he dislikes the daily activities of life. The only thing that seems to excite him is a young girl, a sister of his friend, Mangan (Cummings). The story uses religious references, may be because of the Catholic background of the narrator and the dominance of the region in the locality. The reference to the religion in the story can be demonstrated by the some of the incidences in the story that uses them to pass some message. The story talks about a priest who died and briefly describes how he died like a poor person though he had money and he was generous. The boy finds it hard to concentrate on his studies and other activities because of the girl though he does not know her name. He finds it difficult to know the name and relates knowing of the name as difficulty understanding summons to him. The narrator further uses religion to show how difficult the life was because of his inability to talk to the girl express his feelings. James Joyce refers to religion to show how the narrator was obsessed with the love as it drives him away to a lonely place to pray. He moves to the empty room where a priest had died from. While in the room he squeezes his hand firmly as if he wanted to pray and said O love! In this essay, an analysis of the importance of individual reference to religion in the narrating of the Araby is discussed in depth.

Joyce describes the garden where the children play in the garden. The Garden has an apple tree at the center. The description of the garden in the story relates to the Garden of Eden in the Bible. The narrator describes the garden as having bush and with some abandoned objects like the rusty pump of the priest who had died. The reference shows the lost paradise since the garden is no longer taken care of and hence having bushes and the leaves of the plants were turning yellow. The state of the backyard may symbolize the losing of interest and passion in activities such as the narrator loss of interest in playing and he watches his age mates as they play.

The narrator remembers the girls he has fallen for in all the activities he was undertaking. He describes the remembrance of her image like a chalice (Cummings). It is used to describe how obsessed he is about the girl and how he values her in his life. He even squeezes his hands as if he was praying and just says o love! The reference to the narrator's reaction when he remembers the girls and the imagination of him praying shows his dream that he will have a good life like in heaven if he wins her love. The big visions about the girl by the narrator are well explained by refereeing to religion since the Christian are expected to keep on remembering the chalice. Further, the necessity of prayer in religion is enormous and therefore, the used of signs of one praying when he remembers the girl shows how important the girl is to the narrator. The level of importance of the girl is related to the prayer in religion. It demonstrates the imagination of the boy that he cannot lead a life without the girl. A life without the girl means a life full of challenges such as religious people believe if they fail to pray.

The story uses religion to show how difficult it was for the narrator to have the girl since she is committed visiting the convent. Among the Catholic believers, the visit of the convent may mean that a person intends to become a nun. The girl though she wishes to visit (Fargnoli and Gillespie 9) Araby, going to the convent came first. The author intends to show the impacts of religion on the people of the narrators locality and the commitment individuals have towards it. The visit to the convent symbolizes how the narrators dream may not actualize because of the girls belief in religion. The reference was necessary to show the difficult of the adolescent lover in convincing the girl for friendship and most preferably love.

The narrator goes to the bazaar to purchase a gift for his adolescent dream girl who he believed he would win her love, and he finds the place deserted, and he describes it as a church place after service. The place was as dark as other places when he visited (Cummings). The comparison of the deserted bazaar and church place may symbolize the lack of care the girl might have towards the narrator. It may also show that his efforts to go to look for the gift may not have positive results like the churches have many people during the service and after that, it remains a deserted place. It implies after his gift, the girl may not feel attracted to him and would leave as he was before still following her for love. The narrator also sees great jars at the entrance that he compares with guards. The jars can represent cherubim placed in East of the Garden of Eden in the bible by God to guard the garden when Adam and Eve were expelled. The exit from the entrance of the bazaar to the narrator was like expulsion since his hope had come to an end. The narrator changed his mind and knew that he would not get the girls since she could not get the present and also he was not sure if the girl cared for him in any way. Therefore, the narrators leaving of the bazaar without the present made he will not follow the girl anymore, and it was like leaving paradise as Adam and Eve left Garden of Eden.

The use of the religious references in the Joyces story helps in the emphasis on the experiences of the adolescent first love. Religion frequently appeals to many people in different geographical regions. Therefore, the story would easily appeal to them because of the references. For example, the use of catholic priest who died as a poor person yet he had money that he left behind as inheritance helps in understanding of the life of the individuals in the narrators locality. The narrators portray life for young adults and the other grown up as having challenges not very pleasant (Ingersoll 39). He also describes his own life as lacking happiness and having only one thing that can make him happy. The use of the priest in the story shows how having money and property does not necessarily mean happiness and the pleasant life one may expect. One understands the situation better when religious references are made, for example the one can figure out the difficult of the narrator in his adolescent life as he falls in love with a girl who prefers visiting the convent and values it. One can easily tell that the girl can decide to be a nun and the dream of the narrator fail.

Religion is widely known all over the world and the use of references from the bible gives the author a chance to communicate to wide range people in the world about their piece of work. Given that metaphor and symbolism are limited to people having the same culture (Fargnoli and Gillespie 10). Therefore, the use of the religious references is important in ensuring the literature is widely used by many people and ensure that they understand the literature as well. The drawing of the religious references helps us understand the authors feelings towards the religion and its practices. He seems to dislike the ways in which the religion influences people and makes life difficult for those who serve in it. He portrays it as if it takes away some peoples happiness.

Works cited

Cummings, Michael J. "James Joyce's". Cummingsstudyguides.net. N.p., 2000. Web.

Fargnoli, A. Nicholas, and Michael Patrick Gillespie. James Joyce A To Z. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print.

Ingersoll, Robert Green. The Letters Of Robert G. Ingersoll. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973. Print.

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