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James Joyce's story with the exotic title that suggests sheikhs and bazaars depicts the romantic imagination of a boy who has become infatuated with his friend's sister. In his mind, he confuses religious images with the sensual, the exotic with the mundane, and the grand with the trivial. Here, then, are allusions made in "Araby" that suggest remote contexts from the immediate situation:
- Araby is the poetic name for Arabia, an area of European romance and fantasy.
- The Abbot by Walter Scott is mentioned. This is a novel which idealizes Mary Queen of Scots by the Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott.
- The Devout Communicant is another religious allusion as it refers to devotional literature.
- The Holy Grail. As the boy transports groceries for his aunt, he imagines that he is on a quest for the Holy Grail as he dreams of Mangan's sister.
- The Memoirs of Vidocq, Detective stories by Francois -Eugene Vidocq.
- "The Arab's Farewell to his Steed," a poem by the Irish poet Caroline Norton which the uncle recites
- Cafe Chantant. A coffee house whose name seeks to evoke the risque temptation of Paris of the gay nineties.
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