Please explain the following quote: "I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises."

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The narrator believed himself to be deeply in love with his friend Mangan's sister. He describes her as being bathed in light, literally, even when all around her seems dark. He had not even spoken to her yet, but he completely romanticizes her, dreaming of her and making himself into some kind of hero in these fairy tale fantasies. His daily reality is comprised of "flaring streets" that are loud and crammed with "drunken men and bargaining women"; the laborers curse and the shop boys sing "shrill litanies" and songs about the Irish troubles. However, the narrator imagines that he and Mangan's sister are set apart, set above all this. She becomes almost like a divine figure to him, as he uses words like "chalice" and "prayers" in association with her. This description shows just how unrealistic the narrator is, just how innocent he is. He has not yet realized that the world around him does not care about his feelings of love; what matters most to the world is money and business and trade.

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"Araby" is a story about infatuation, and these particular sentences reflect that theme of infatuation. It is part of a larger paragraph, which details the strength of this emotional pull by which Mangan's sister exerts an ever-present hold over the young narrator's heart. It is all-consuming, following him everywhere, holding control of his imagination, and yet, at the same time, the young narrator treats it with a religious kind of awe (keep in mind, the sacral language in this passage, via the chalice, as well as prayers). There's a tension running throughout this paragraph, between life's banalities on the one hand, which runs against this emotional intensity on the other. In this longer passage, I'd suggest that Joyce's narrator is reflecting the intensity of his own feelings, along with the degree to which he cherishes that infatuation, with a religious kind of fervor.

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