Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
The little boy lives with his aunt and uncle on a dead-end street in Dublin, in a house formerly occupied by a now deceased priest. The boy is impressed and somewhat mystified by the moldy books—a historical romance, a pious tract, and a detective autobiography—and other reminders of the previous tenant.
The action of the story begins with the children’s games, played in the lanes and backyards of the neighborhood during the winter twilight. These games end when the sister of one of the boys—named Mangan—calls her little brother in to his tea. The image of this girl standing in the lighted doorway so fixes itself in the boy’s imagination that he begins to pursue her shyly in the street. Even in the bustle of the weekly grocery shopping, he carries with him a feeling about her that amounts to something like mystical rapture.
Then, one day, while the other little boys are playing, she asks him if he is going to a bazaar, named Araby. She is unable to go because of religious activities at her school, but he undertakes to go and bring her a gift instead. This brief conversation and the prospect of the trip to the bazaar causes the boy to lose concentration on his lessons and regard his playmates with disdain.
The Saturday of the bazaar is acutely agonizing for the boy. He has to wait all day long for his uncle to come home and give him the required pocket money. He withdraws from play and wanders through the upper empty...
(The entire section is 461 words.)
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