Please analyze the quote below from ArabyWhat is the significance/importance of the quote? What did the author want us to understand from it? What does it mean? "Some distant lamp or lighted...

Please analyze the quote below from Araby

What is the significance/importance of the quote? What did the author want us to understand from it? What does it mean?

"Some distant lamp or lighted window gleamed below me. I was thankful that I could see so little. All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and, feeling that I was about to slip from them, I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: "O love! O love!" many times."

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the narrator of "Araby" by James Joyce, there is a conflict between romantic idealism and religious fervor.  In this particular passage, the boy confuses religious and the secular worlds in his mind.  Symbolic of this confusion is his entering the back room in which the Catholic priest died, the priest who read secular material such as The Memoirs of Vidocq by Francois Eugene Vidocq, known for his rather prurient works--a most incongruous combination. In contrast, also is the rain that "impinge[s] upon the earth" while the lights, almost spiritual, shine below him. 

Further, religious words are used as the narrator describes his burgeoning sexual feelings being "veiled," suggesting the veils that women wore in church.  In addition, the narrator puts together his hands with the palms touching as in prayer as he "murmurs," as one reciting the rosary, "O love! O love!" repeatedly. This line, reminiscent of Romeo's speech when he meets Juliet, suggests infatuation and romance, rather than religious feelings.

The conflict of the romantic crush with his religious fervor is what leads the narrator to his epiphany, the recognition of the mundaneness and triviality of the bazaar with the disillusionment of his idealized romanticism.

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