Araby Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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In "Araby", what is the significance of the uncle quoting "The Arab's Farewell to His Steed"?

The recitation of the poem is an ironic commentary on the boy's mission to buy a present for the girl at the bazaar.

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The uncle's reciting of the poem can be taken a number of ways. First, his recitation of the poem is an indication of his absentmindedness. He can't seem to remember (or attach any importance to) the boy's desire to get to Araby; he is too lost in his own musings to really pay attention. It is telling, for instance, that he can recite the poem from memory and must be told twice where it is the boy wishes to go.

Second, the uncle undoubtedly is making a connection between the name of the fair ("Araby") and the title of the poem (The Arab's Farewell to his Steed"). His recitation is inspired by this association, and the fair becomes in this context an exotic and sentimental place, as the real
"Araby" is described in the poem. The uncle's comment about "all work and no play" also emerges from this association; he thinks he is doing the boy a favor in letting him go, but he is actually clueless about the whole situation.

Third, the poem, which is about the sale of a beloved horse, is a kind of...

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