The blanket of snow suggests this sense of numbness in Gabriel’s character—he is literally frigid to emotion—but also the commonality of this trait.
The snow does not fall only outside of Gabriel’s window, but, as he envisions it, across the country, from the Harbor of Dublin in the east, to the south in Shannon, and to the west.
In this passage, however, Little Chandler dejectedly accepts that such aspirations will never materialize.
He has the books, but none of the passionate drive to produce one of his own.
Idle activity, rather, defines the activity in school, and thus childhood. He remembered the books of poetry upon his shelves at home.
He had bought them in his bachelor days and many an evening, as he sat in the little room of the hall, he had been tempted to take one down from the bookshelf and read out something to his wife.
Duffy’s relentless spite for such physical expression—it is fleshly and secretive, something that happens in the shadows. The imagery of eating in this quote suggests the importance of reciprocity and union that is so absent in this story. —“Araby”In this quote, the young boy of “Araby” has just spoken with Mangan’s sister, and now finds himself entirely uninterested and bored by the demands of the classroom.
This moment enacts a cycle of life and death that echoes throughout Dubliners: seeing the living, physical evidence of love in two people leads Mr. Instead, he thinks of Mangan’s sister, of the upcoming bazaar, and of anything but what rests before him.
In his speech at his aunts’ party, Gabriel had called for the need to live one’s life without brooding over the memories of the dead, but here he realizes the futility of such divisions and the lack of feeling they expose in his character. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland.It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves.The irony underpinning the word idle reflects the hypocrisy of this situation, and as such forms one of the moments in the narrative when the subject’s voice speaks through the detached third person.What exactly, the passage asks, is idle about excited desire?