Biblical and Mythological Allusions in Araby, Handsomest Drowned Man & A Good Man

In the stories ofAraby, The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World, and A Good Man is Hard to Find, similar “illuminating incidents“ are shared through the use of biblical and mythological allusions. These allusions are exposed through the utilization of a grim setting. Each story presents a different underlying meaning through these literary devices; however, the stories are able to present these contrasting meanings in similar manners. Amby takes places in a country similar to Ireland. However, the grim setting in Araby emerges once the boy enters the bazaar.

Upon entering the bazaar, he discovers that all of his hard work put forth in appeasing his love interest is useless. After all of his pursuing and attempts to gain her heart, he is able to realize the futility of the situation. This symbolizes the bazaar as a sort of dead end to the boy‘s love fantasy, revealing a discouraging atmosphere.

This dark setting further assists in revealing a central allusion in Araby, This allusion occurs outside of the boy’s love interest’s home.

The garden is home to an apple tree, alluding to the story of the Garden of Eden in the Bible. In this biblical story, the main concept convened is the loss of innocence. The allusion foreshadows the main character’s loss of innocence at the end of the story while at the bazaar. The meaning conveyed throughout this story by these “illuminating incidents” is the idea of naively lost and the coming of a realization. The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World takes place on a Spanish island consisting of a barren coastal village.

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The inhabitants of the island reside in wooden houses in stone courtyards. These elements of the setting, in addition to the rugged cliffs and chaotic waters on the island, contribute to the idea of a lingering darkness. They also assist in contributing to the allusion to Greek mythology in the story.

This allusion appears when a mysterious figure by the name of Esteban washes tip on the roaring shores of the island Esteban is the “drowned man,” who is incredibly out of the ordinary, he possesses beautiful features and is exceptionally large. These characteristics in conjunction with the fact that he appeared from the ocean support the allusion to Greek myth. In this case, the Greek myth is a reference to the god of the ocean, Neptune, Poseidon. In addition to these godlike features, Esteban is able to turn the village from a barren wasteland to a flourishing community. The alluding of Esteban to a Greek god contributes to the idea that only a god would be able to bring such change to a village as he had. The meaning brought forth through this allusion and setting is that everything happens for a reason, that being Esteban’s calling to the village to bring forth a healthy change.

In A Good Man is Hard to Find, the story begins with the central characters on a car ride While on this drive, they pass by locations where old plantations existed. This setting begins the dark aura associated with this story. While driving, the characters experience a card accident and are approached by a criminal referred to as “the misfit.” We are exposed to another biblical allusion through dialogue exchanged between the characters and the misfit. The misfit alludes to the story of Jesus Christ by stating that Jesus “threw everything off balance” by sacrificing himself for our sins. This is an allusion to Jesus dying on the cross to make up for the sins committed by all mankind, In addition to this allusion, a dark setting is introduced when the characters are approached by the misfit. This dark setting grows even more when the misfit’s sidemen carry off a few of the family members to the woods, suggesting the family’s impending doom.

The underlying meaning presented throughout this story through these literary devices is the idea of the extent to which desperation is apparent when one is placed in dire situations and how we try to be our best selves when faced with death, The “illuminating incidents” of Araby, The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World, and A Good Man is Hard to Find, are all exposed through the use of biblical and mythological allusions. These allusions are described through similar uses of setting in each story. Although the stories possess separate meanings brought forth through “illuminating incidents,” they convey their meanings through allusions and the description of dark atmospheres associated with the settings.

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Biblical and Mythological Allusions in Araby, Handsomest Drowned Man & A Good Man. (2023, Apr 08). Retrieved from

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