Dubliners Araby: Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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Araby: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Knowing how important religious symbols are in “Araby,” what do you make of the “wild garden” in the boy’s backyard, with its “central apple-tree”?

2. The first sentence of “Araby” describes the Christian Brothers’ School “set[ting] the boys free” at the day’s end. How is this wording significant?

3. Although the narrator is madly in love with Mangan’s sister, he reveals this to no one. What does this imply?

4. The narrator says that her name “sprang to his lips […] in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand.” Why isn’t he able to understand or interpret them?

5. What is the significance of the fact that Mangan’s sister cannot attend Araby because of a retreat?

6. After making his promise, the boy loses all interest in learning, stating that he began to “chafe against the work of school.” Why does he have this reaction?

7. When the uncle returns home late and is talking to himself, the boy states: “I could interpret these signs.” Can you?

8. Although the boy rides in a “special train for the bazaar,” its atmosphere doesn’t seem very special at all. What is the significance of this?

9. How does the salesgirl treat the narrator?

10. Why doesn’t the boy buy anything at the bazaar?

1. The “wild garden” reminds us of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden and the fact that the boy lives in a falsely pious environment. The apple tree, of course, is another symbol of the Garden of Eden.

2. The school releases them at the day’s end, but the word “free” reminds us how oppressive Joyce felt a religious education could be.

3. He tells no one because in his emotions he is extremely isolated from everyone.

4. The boy has not understood for himself his attempt to substitute the young girl’s love for...

(The entire section is 472 words.)