Symbolism in Araby

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* "North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers' School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground. The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces. The former tenant of our house, a priest, had died in the back drawing room. Air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms, and the waste room behind the kitchen was littered with old useless papers. Among these I found a few paper-covered books, the pages of which were curled and damp: The Abbot, by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant and The Memoirs of Vidocq. I liked the last best because its leaves were yellow. The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple-tree and a few straggling bushes under one of which I found the late tenant's rusty bicycle-pump. He had been a very charitable priest; in his will he had left all his money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister."

This paragraph from James Joyce's "Araby" appears at the beginning of the story. This passage opens the story with a description of the boy's home and neighbourhood. The passage also describes the boy's life using symbolism and imagery done through the priest, the house and neighbourhood, and the garden.

The importance of the boy's relationship with his faith is immediately touched upon in the beginning of the story. The connection is indirectly made through the quotation, "it was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers' School set the boys free." The Image given is one of a prison setting. This image shows that the boy feels religion controls and confines his life. The boy has experienced religion and entertains some form of a deity for short periods. The priest in the passage is, in fact, a symbol of religion. "The former tenant of our house, a...
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