1. James Joyce presents a very gloomy mood in the story about the restrictiveupbringing of Irish Catholic youths. List examples of the gloomy atmosphere he tries to create that gives the sense of struggle.
In my opinion, the third paragraph in the story seems to present a picture of the dreariness in Dublin- the descriptions seem to become increasingly gloomy as the writer takes you through his story-   “Sombre houses, feeble lanterns, silent street, dark muddy lanes, dark dripping gardens, and odours from the ashpits.” (Joyce)  If you make a list of the adjectives throughout the book you will be walloped with the overwhelming drabness and dreariness of the setting Joyce has created. In the opening paragraphs he forces the reader to take note of the lifelessness that surrounds the boy. This allows the reader a glimpse into his life in such a dreary place. North Richmond Street- in the story, is a dead end (blind street) as Joyce points out. It’s almost as if he is suggesting that the boys playing on this street are going nowhere literally and figuratively. Growing up to live in the same dreary place that they played as boys.  2. What is the significance of the three book titles that belonged to the former house resident, a priest?

The
presence of all of these complex novels seem to point out Joyce’s anti-clerical
views in the story. The boy in the story is confused as to the difference
between romantic love, religious love and materialist love. As the story
proceeds, we find that his use of these books support the theme of deception
and dishonesty in the story and simply strengthens the sense that the boy is
deceived about himself. I also believe that maybe there is an underlying
meaning here and it seems to point to the priests honesty or dishonesty in his
life which goes along with his anti-clerical views of the church.  

3. There seems to be a pervasive theme of “light vs. dark” that is symbolic of religious good and evil. Try to find at least one example of this in the story.       

James Joyce’s “Araby” is runs rampant with
symbolism specifically symbolism that supports religious and romantic subject
matter. Specifically, Joyce utilizes descriptive words when describing Mangan’s
sister such as “her figure defined by the light from the half-opened door.” This
could be interpreted as a symbol for the Virgin Mary. In my opinion, this seems
to be another example of irony in the story because the narrator’s supposed
romantic interest is a symbol of religious purity which also serves to
highlight his confusing understanding of romance and religion. In addition, the
word “fall” is a frequent word with symbolism beyond its literal
meaning. Its frequent appearance within the story seems to indicate the
narrator’s fall from innocence, similar to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.