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In "Araby," enumerate the activities taking place at Araby. To what extent do they...

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hkwon36047 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:46 AM via web

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In "Araby," enumerate the activities taking place at Araby. To what extent do they sustain its "magical name"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:01 AM (Answer #1)

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There is a deliberate contrast in the text between the expectation of the boy as he reaches the bazaar which bears the "magical name" of Araby and then the actual mundane and rather humdrum reality of what goes on inside. He sees two men counting money and some English people engaging in everyday gossip. The hall itself, far from being the site of eastern promise and magical mystery, is described in a very serious way:

Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall was in darkness. I recognised a silence like that which pervades a church after a service. I walked into the centre of the bazaar timidly.

The comparison of the bazaar to a church gives the bazaar a serious, sombre and ceremonious feel that makes the boy nervous and shy, as indicated in the timid way in which he walks to the centre of the bazaar. In addition, note the way that the "greater part of the hall was in darkness." This too is important in the way that the reality of the bazaar is presented as being such a contrast from the fevered expectations of the boy whose romantic ideals and imagination have got the better of him. The description of what happens inside the bazaar belies the boy's expectations and the sense of anticipation and excitement he feels when he hears the word "Araby," which he says casts "an Eastern enchantment over me." The end of the story makes it clear that his understanding of the reality of Araby coincides with his realisation that his romantic hopes are not real.

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