Araby Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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In "Araby," why do you think the dead priest appears in the story?

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The dead priest makes just two appearances in James Joyce's short story, "Araby." The first appearance is in the second paragraph, where Joyce establishes the setting, specifically of the narrator's house. He explains that the former tenant of the house, "a priest, had died in the back drawing-room."

The death of the priest feeds into the morbid, desolate description of the house, and thus the rather sombre atmosphere of the story. The house is also described as "musty" and its garden "wild." The waste room in the house is "littered with old useless papers" and the garden is characterized by "a few straggling bushes" and a "rusty bicycle pump."

The second appearance of the priest occurs midway through the story, as the narrator returns to "the back drawing-room in which the priest had died." Here again the appearance of the priest serves primarily to feed into the sombre, morbid atmosphere of the story, which in turn reflects the mood of the narrator. At this same point in the story the...

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