50 pages 1 hour read

James Joyce


Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1914

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.


Love and Religion

In “Araby,” the narrator is fixated with religion. As someone who attends a Catholic school, is raised in a Catholic country, and grows up in a house formerly occupied by a dead Catholic priest, the Catholic religion becomes the framework through which the narrator views the world. He does not have any experience of romantic love, so he frames his affection for Mangan’s sister in a religious way. Love and religion are bound together as a theme because the narrator does not know how else to express his devotion and idealized love outside of religion.

The narrator describes his love for Mangan’s sister in religious terms. In a literal sense, he begins to worship her. He thinks about her when he is alone, and his thoughts are muttered like devoted, feverish prayers as he clasps his hands together. These “strange prayers and praises” (250) are the only way that the narrator knows to convey a feeling of devotion or love; he admits that he does not understand the true meaning of what he is saying or why he is acting in this manner, though he cannot think of any other way to express his emotion.