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Examine how religious impulses help create the boy’s epiphany in James Joyce’s “Araby”?



The main theme of Dubliners, as a whole, is that Joyce found Dublin as a moral dunghill.  The story uses imagery related to blindness, instead of religious vision.  Just look at the first full paragraph:

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.

And then later, when looking out at Meghan's sister:

Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlour watching her door. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen.

The narrator sees himself on a religious quest.  He says, "“I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes.”  It ends in anguish and darkness.  According to the Enotes editor:

At the beginning of the story, the narrator sees himself as a religious hero and sees Mangan's sister as the living embodiment of the Virgin Mary. He has not yet learned how to separate the religious teachings of his school with the reality of his secular life. Part of his understanding at the end of the story involves his finally separating those two aspects of his life. He realizes that the church-sponsored bazaar is just a place to buy trinkets, that Mangan's sister is just a girl, and that he himself is just a boy. It is not clear at the end of the story what impact the narrator's epiphany will have on his religious beliefs. Joyce's own disillusionment with Catholicism, however, lends credence to the possibility of the boy adopting a cynical attitude toward his religion.

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