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In "Araby," how can we relate the use of word "blind" for a dead...

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pria | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 7, 2008 at 12:00 PM via web

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In "Araby," how can we relate the use of word "blind" for a dead end street to the boy's situation as expressed at the end of the story ?

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

Posted March 21, 2009 at 10:19 PM (Answer #1)

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The location of the boy's house, being in a "blind" street could be said to be representative of the boy's nature at the beginning of the story, as compared with his character at the end of the story.

The concept of epiphany is particularly key in this story. Epiphany can be defined as a moment of sudden insight or revelation expressed by the character. At the beginning of the story we see that the narrator views himself as a kind of religious hero and confuses Mangan's sister with the Virgin Mary. In his mind, religion and infatuation are confused and he is unable to discern the difference between religion and his secular life.

At the end of the story, however, the boy "sees", thus ending his "blinded" state. He realises that Araby, although it sounds so exotic ("The syllables of the word Araby wre called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me"), is nothing more than a church-sponsored bazaar selling trinkets. He likewise understands that Mangan's sister is just a girl and that he is just a boy. Thus the last lines of the story capture this moment of epiphany and help us to see that the narrator is "blind" no longer:

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

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