Symbolism of the Paralysis of the Irish Church in “Araby”

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From a speedy read through James Joyce’s “Araby. ” one may believe that it is a simple narrative about a male child and his first infatuation with a female. Upon a closer review. the spiritual symbolism becomes clearer as Joyce uses symbols throughout the narrative to reflect upon his ain experiences and his ain position of the Irish Church. As told in the text’s prologue. Joyce saw Ireland to be in a kind of religious palsy during his early old ages. and an statement could be made that “Araby” was his manner of showing his positions on this dead Irish Church. Due to different events that occurred in his childhood. James Joyce was turned off to and allow down by the Catholic Church. doing him to take this resentful point of view of the church. Through different signifiers of symbolism in “Araby. ” Joyce shows his letdown and deficiency of religion in the Irish Church.

Before diging into the symbolism contained in “Araby. ” the inquiry of why Joyce feels so resentful toward the church must be raised. The prologue of the text states that “Joyce spent his adolescence in the 1890s hoping to acquire off from what he saw as Dublin’s religious. political. and rational paralysis” ( “James Joyce” 140 ) . Certain events of Joyce’s early life are besides detailed in the prologue. such as James Joyce’s male parent. John Joyce’s close dealingss with Charles Parnell through the Irish nationalist motion. The Roman Catholic hierarchy pressured Parnell out of his place as leader of the cabal following a controversial divorce. doing the cabal to divide into irrelevancy. This event. and the decease of Parnell. led immature James Joyce to compose his first literary work. a verse form. at the age of nine. This clearly shows the influence that this event had on his life. When the Irish Church repressed Parnell’s motion. John Joyce fell into intoxicant and debt jobs. doing pandemonium and turbulence in James Joyce’s adolescent old ages. This could be considered a chief property to Joyce’s dead position of Irish faith and political relations.

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Now that we have speculated on the beginnings of Joyce’s positions of the Irish Church. one can pull analogues with this point of view and the symbolism used in “Araby. ” In the gap paragraph. Joyce paints a image of the street on which the storyteller lives. There stands a individual. uninhabited house. separated from all the remainder. at the terminal of the dead terminal street. Down thestreet. the brown houses symmetrically confronting each other are described as being unagitated and stolid. The first symbol of the church can be found here. as the street literally mirrors an image of a church. with the big stray house at the terminal being the dais. and the brown houses being the church benchs down a halfway aisle. The vocabulary used in this gap paragraph should be closely noted. Looking at this parallel image. the “pulpit” is described as being uninhabited and empty. with the fold in the “pews” being nonmoving. Besides. the word “blind” serves a dual significance in this context. foremost as a dead terminal route. but besides literally as being without sight. meaning his position of the unsighted leading in the Irish Church. Joyce begins this narrative with imagination to force his positions of the Irish Church and the ruin that he believes it has taken.

Continuing into the narrative. one can see even more symbolism in the 2nd paragraph. but this clip. it is much less abstract. The storyteller tells that the former occupant of this house was a priest who passed off. go forthing behind “old useless papers” in a back room. Among the documents were three books. From the storyteller stating that he likes the 3rd book due to its xanthous foliages. one can reason that this book has been read many more times than the other two. The footers reveal that one of the books that is non really worn is a spiritual book. whereas the worn in book is secular. This shows that even priests in this clip hold stooped to the degree of happening more satisfaction in secular things than in their ain faith. Subsequently in this paragraph. the storyteller notes that the priest was charitable for go forthing his money to establishments. Contrary to the narrator’s position. this action can be taken as being the antonym of charitable. Bing dead. the priest would hold no usage for these properties anyways. but it could be seen as inconsiderate to go forth his useless belonging to his sister. Joyce uses this act and the worn xanthous pages as symbols of the defects in the leading of the Irish Church.

In this same paragraph. another spiritual symbol can be found. While depicting the backyard. the storyteller says “The wild garden behind the house contained a cardinal apple-tree and a few straggling shrubs under one of which I found the late tenant’s rusty bicycle-pump” ( Joyce 142 ) . There is anobvious connexion between the cardinal apple tree in this narrative and the tree of cognition of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. In the Bible. when Adam and Eve Ate from the tree of cognition. they were cast from the garden. which so without caretaking would hold become overgrown. This initial wickedness represents the ruin of adult male. In “Araby. ” the cardinal tree overgrown by sidetracking shrubs is a parallel to the tree of cognition in the Bible. and where the tree of cognition represented the ruin of adult male. Joyce represents the ruin of the Irish Church through the overgrown cardinal tree. Joyce even takes it a measure further with the rusty bike pump ; something that used to hold a intent has now become useless. With these mechanisms. Joyce uses analogues between “Araby” and the Bible to convey to illume what he sees as the ruin of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Though it is hard to state if Joyce originally intended this of his narrative. a big analogue could besides be drawn between the narrator’s desire for Mangan’s sister and the manner Joyce desired faith in his adolescence. As told in the prologue. Joyce ab initio desired to travel into priesthood as a immature male child. Through this narrative of “Araby. ” the storyteller copes with the feeling he has toward this miss in the lone manner he knows how ; he tries to purchase her something. After geting at the bazar. he is disappointed in many ways. Not merely does he hold no staying money to purchase a gift. but the bazar besides is non even an reliable Arabic bazar ( as he concluded from the worker’s British speech patterns ) as its name suggested. In the last sentence of the narrative. the storyteller recalls his feelings: “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a animal driven and derided by amour propre ; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger” ( Joyce 145 ) . This feeling could really good be the same feeling that Joyce felt about his faith in his early old ages. The narrator’s desire for the miss led him to be absolutely defeated. merely as Joyce’s desire to go a priest was stifled by his letdown in the Irish Church.

After a closer analysis of this narrative. it is clear that this apparently simple narrative of a child’s first infatuation with the opposite sex has many hidden symbols that relay the author’s feelings toward his church and faith. The convulsion in his childhood caused by the church led James Joyceto comprehend the church as being in a religious palsy. a position that he makes clear through imagination and symbolism throughout the narrative of “Araby. ” Not merely does Joyce usage symbols. but he besides draws analogues between the life of the storyteller and his ain as a kid. and uses this desire and letdown felt by the storyteller to show the desire and letdown that he felt toward his faith.

Plants Cited“James Joyce. ” The Longman Anthology of World Literature. Ed. David Damrosch. 1st erectile dysfunction. Vol. F. New York: Longman. 2004. 139-41. Print. Joyce. James. “Araby. ” The Longman Anthology of World Literature. Ed. David Damrosch. 1st erectile dysfunction. Vol. F. New York: Longman. 2004. 142-45. Print. “Selected Essaies on James Joyce’s “Araby”” The Literary Link. N. p. . n. d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. .

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