The Sexuality in Araby
The sexuality in Araby actually is expressed very obscurely. It is either restrained or transformed into another type of expression, which has much to do with the rigid and religious Irish setting. If we apply Freudian plots to analyze the boy¡¦s emotions, his id which desires Mangan¡¦s sister is confined by the strong pressure both from the social and religious regulation. This invisible but powerful force plays a crucial role that influences this boy daring not express emotions.
The most direct attraction of the girl should be her beautiful appearance. The boy¡¦s description about her is all physical, sexual and sensual. When she is talking to him, what he notices is her turning around a silver bracelet on her wrist. She is a sexy figure in his fantasy. The boy never mentions how she looks like but her sexy image.
¡Kher figure defined by the light from the half-opened door.
The light from the lamp opposite our door caught the white curve of her neck, lit up her hair that rested¡K. It fell over one side of her dress and caught the white border of a petticoat, just visible as she stood at ease.
Even only little part of a petticoat he puts on his vision instead of the girl¡¦s face that is supposed to be the most attractive. In the mean time he also place this girl¡¦s image on the religious level. It might be because of her fair look or her better family background that she is like an angel by thinking of whom he can escape from his not so wonderful world. Even though he is in ¡§the most hostile to romance¡¨ place, with her image in his heart he can still endure. And he would even fantasies about religious ritual:
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 which I myself didn¡¦t understand. My were eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom.
Actually what he is doing is to transform the romantic sensation into religious worship. This adoration to an older woman also fits Oedipal complex. Since he is an orphan (who has no mother), and the aunt is a very weak character (who might be not worthy of admiration), Mangan¡¦s sister becomes an Oedipal attachment to Mother image.
The society in the author¡¦s time is prevailed by Catholicism in a large degree. Therefore, we can see this boy not only possesses a religious image in the girl but in fact his sexual emotions is also religiously involved. Further that he needs to release these feeling in an isolated setting. It is mentioned above how he fantasize the girl in a religious ceremony and that makes him so excited that he ¡§tears¡¨ for unknown reason. His sensation is like a ¡§flood¡¨ pouring into his bosom. He also describes his body
was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.
(It is funny because usually the female body described as a harp played by male but I think it¡¦s due to the older subject he adores.) Here the shedding image (flood and tear) or the feeling like a harp represents his physical excitement. And he would hide himself in the back-drawing room to carry on his fantasy. In that moment he deserts his other senses but his desire.
¡K, I press my palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring:¡¨ O love! O! love!¡¨ many times.
From surface this example is a merely religious gesture but this is another sexual fantasy. Sometimes too deep religious devotion leads to a kind of passion. His tremble can be explained as his orgasm (certainly in unconscious stage) which is merged with his religion-like ecstasy.
This romantic fantasy also has to be going on smoothly under protection. His adoration would in an isolated condition either like his heart or the back-drawing room. The whole society including his own poor family actually he is not satisfied with. Therefore he chose a ¡§dark and rainy¡¨ night so that
I was thankful that I could see so little. All my senses desired to veil themselves¡K.
However, eventually he realizes this romance he cherishes so dearly is childlike and his ¡§poor trip¡¨ to Araby looks so stupid. He can¡¦t help feeling himself as a creature driven and derided by vanity. His determination of trying so hard to go to the bazaar is just a beastly impulse, which has not much difference with animal. Inevitably he feels angry with all this and not until this very moment he is never aware of his naivety.
This boy in fact expresses very obscure and slight sexuality. And it is revealed in an unconscious stage. Only when he sees the real world in the end, he finally senses this biological impulse.