Araby Questions and Answers
Q. 1. Why did Mangan’s sister not go to Araby?
Ans. The sister of Mangan, Joyce’s play-mate asked him (Joyce) whether he was going to Araby or not. In response, the boy narrator without giving any answer asked the girl why she was not going to Araby. At this, she replied that there would be a religious programme for meditation in her convent that week. That’s why, she was unable to go to Araby.
Q.2. What was the reason to James Joyce to reach Araby at late?
Ans. The chief reason for being late in Araby was Joyce’s uncle. Joyce promised Mangan’s sister to bring some gift for her from there. But as he had no money, he had to depend upon his uncle who was very much forgetful. In morning, he told Joyce that the matter was in his mind but he came home while it was 9 p.m. at night. Naturally, Joyce was late in reaching Araby.
Q 3. How much money did Joyce take with him and how was it spent?
Ans. Joyce took a meager amount of a florin (two shillings) given by his uncle.
As the amount was very little he went by a deserted train and at Araby he entered through a turnstile as there was no six penny entrance. Then he handed over a shilling to a weary looking man. With the rest amount of penny he could not buy his promised gift. Then he allowed two pennies to fall against the six-pence in his pocket. Thus the money was spent.
Q.4. ‘My eyes burnt with anguish and anger’– Explain.
Ans. James Joyce to give value to his sense of love promised Mangan’s sister to bring her a gift from Araby. But, the amount of money being meager, he could not buy a gift of his choice. Rather he heard the dull counting of money in the stalls, breaking his romantic heart. He realized that he was mercilessly cheated by fancy. This idea is implied in the reaction of James Joyce while leaving Araby.
Q.5. Why did the boy decide to go to Araby?
Ans. The boy (Joyce) started to feel an instinctive attraction for Mangan’s sister. Without any explanation, the boy took her as his life’s goal. So, when Mangan’s sister asked him whether he was going to Araby or not, he asked her the same question. The answer being ‘no’, the boy promised her to bring a gift from Araby. So, it seems that to make his love thoughts permanent and to bring the promised gift, the boy decided to go to Araby.
Q.6. What did the boy hero bring for Mangan’s sister from Araby?
Ans. When there was the first conversation between the boy hero and Mangan’s sister, the context of Araby came. The boy hero promised her to bring a gift from Araby. On the appointed day, bearing many troubles, he started for Araby at 9 p.m. with two shillings. He offered half of the amount to a weary-looking man. Then with the remaining money which was not suitable for buying any gift, he went to a stall but in vain. He returned from Araby with anger and anguish. Though he was unable to give her any gift yet his mind was filled with a great sense of love which is the best gift for Mangan’s sister.
Q.7. “Her name was a summon to my foolish blood”– Explain.
Ans. This is the peculiar feelings of the boy hero for Mangan’s sister in ‘Araby’. Whenever he saw her, the boy felt attracted towards the girl unconciously. Infact his age was not sufficient to realize the meaning of love. Yet the thought of the girl always accompanied the boy’s mind. To express this sense of romance in the mind of the boy hero for Mangan’s sister, it is written.
Q.8. What is florin?
Ans. Florin is a word to indicate the English money. It means shillings. In ‘Araby’ the boy hero got a florin to attend the fair of Araby.
Q 9. What is the meaning of ‘Litany’?
Ans. The word ‘litany’ means prayers during church services
But, here in Araby it means the shouting of the shop boy to draw the attention of the customers. In the short story Joyce wants to say that the image of Mangan’s sister accompanied him even in that place filled with litanies.
Q 10. What was the thing that the boy in ‘Araby’ found under one of the “straggling bushes”?
Ans. The thing that the little boy found under one of the straggling bushes was a rusty bi-cycle pump that belonged to the former tenant who was a priest and lived in Joyce’s house.
Q 11. What was the nature of the former tenant of the house where the boy narrator lived? Which books were found in his room?
Ans. The former tenant who is spoken of in ‘Araby’ was a charitable priest. He was so good-wishing that in a will, he had left all his money to different institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister. James Joyce discovered some paper covered books in his room.
The books were damp and curled. The books include ‘The Abbot‘, by Walter Scott. ‘The Devout Communicant‘ and ‘The Memories of Vidocq‘. Joyce liked the most the last one, as its pages were yellow.
Q 12. What is ‘come-all-you’ and who is O’Donovan Rossa?
Ans. ‘Come-all-you’ is a famous street ballad which is referred in Araby.
O’Donavan Rossa was a famous Irish nationalist of 19th century popularity known as Jeremiah Donovan. With his name, this street ballad is always referred as they were inseparable to each other. The ballad opens with these 3 words.
Q 13. What is Araby?
Ans. Araby was a name given to a “Grand Oriental Fete” held in Dublin from 14th to 19th May, 1894. It was a sort of special bazaar where goods were sold for the benefit charities and arrangements were made to provide entertainment for the customers visiting the fair. Though apparently it was a fair, it implied much more than that to the boy narrator. To him, it was a dream land that could fulfill his love ideals. But finally ‘Araby‘ itself proved the hard truth that a boy’s thoughts of ideal love have no way towards fulfillment.
Q 14. How Joyce’s body is compared to a harp?
Ans. Using this fine simile, Joyce has compared himself to a harp. Harp is a musical instrument, made of strings. Without the help of fingers, tunes can’t be created from it. In the same style, Joyce thought that he was a harp and Mangan’s sister talks, gestures etc. were like fingers playing upon the harp. As a harp becomes valueless when it fails to produce any melody, so also Joyce thought that his life was insignificant if there was no touch and direct contact with Mangan’s sister.
Q 15. What is Chalice?
Ans. Chalice means a wine bowl for drinking. Jesus Christ used this in his last supper. It is associated with the Holy Grail legend, for which the medieval knights made their adventures in spite of hazards and troubles.
In ‘Araby‘, chalice refers to Mangan’s sister who was the meaning of life to James Joyce. Her image formed the basic foundation of his life. Therefore, when he carried her image in his mind while walking in the streets most hostile to romance, he thought that like the knights he also was carrying the chalice in the midst of foes.
Q .16. What is “free-mason affair”?
Ans. ‘Free mason affair‘ was an old dated secret society with its branches all over the world. They were and attitude. Naturally, this organization was widely hated by the majority. In ‘Araby‘ it is mentioned because the h wanted to avoid the crowd but his aunt took it otherwise and asked whether her nephew had joined this organization without informing her.
Q 17. What is “Cafe Chantant”?
Ans. ‘Cafe Chantant’ means a singing cafe where musical entertainment is provided for the customers attending the fair. In between 1900-1910, this cafe was very popular in the western world. When the boy narrator to get his aim fulfilled attended Araby, he visualized such type of one singing-cafe there.
Q 18. What is ‘The Arab’s Farewell to His Steed”?
Ans. “The Arab’s Farewell to His Steed’ is a sentimental poem of bygone 19th century. It was composed by a minor poetess, Caroline Norton. Directly this poem has no league with this short story. Actually, when the boy narrator asked for the money and the permission from his uncle, he simply asked whether the boy knew this poem and when the boy left house, the man recited this poem in the ears of his wife.
Q.19. How was Mrs. Mercer?
Ans. Mrs. Mercer was a neighbour to Joyce’s uncle’s family in Dublin. She was an old and garrulous type of woman. But she had also a good quality. She used to collect used stamp papers for some pious purpose. Every afternoon she attended the tea-table of Joyce’s aunt for gossiping. But it created anger in the romantic heart of Joyce.
Q.20. What was boy hero’s every day duty in the morning?
Ans. Every morning lying down on the floor of the parlour, the boy hero went on watching at Mangan’s house. The blind of the Window was pulled down in such a style and so little a gap was left that none could see him but he was able to inspect everything. When Mangan’s sister came to the doorstep, immediately, he ran to the hall grasped his books and silent followed her up to that point where their way to school was diverged from one another. But there was naturally no conversation between them.
Q.21. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”- Who used to say it? What does this proverb mean?
Ans. Joyce’s uncle, a casual minded man was in the habit of saying this proverb. This proverb is pregnant with significance as it implies a perfect combination of work and play. It is true to the letter that only works or only play can give us nothing. A person while working must play and vice-versa. Therefore there is nothing wrong in the idea that if a person works or plays all the time, he or she is sure to grow dull.