In "Araby," who is the protagonist? What is he striving to achieve and why?
The narrator is now, evidently, a grown man reflecting back on his experiences as a young boy, as he tells the story in past tense and with more emotional maturity than such a young boy would have. His younger self is the protagonist of this story, as it is his experiences we follow and must grapple with.
This unnamed narrator was in love with his friend Mangan's sister. He frequently describes her as being "defined by the light" while he was often in shadow. He would spy on her in the morning to see when she was leaving for school so that he could follow her, and when he saw her, his "heart leaped." Though they had barely ever spoken, he says, "her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood." In the story, the boy is striving to win the love of Mangan's sister. She is the reason he goes to the Araby bazaar: because he wants to purchase something for her to show his love for her.
The young boy who is the narrator is the protagonist. He has a crush on Mangan's sister. Mangan is a neighbor and friend of his. Every day he watches her. When going to school, he follows her and at the last minute passes her so that she sees him. It's a very normal crush, and everyone seems to relate to that from experience.
However, in trying to get her attention and win her favor, he is talked into going to Araby, which is a local religiously affiliated bazaar. Normally it wouldn't be something he would go to, but when she mentions to him that she would love to go, he says he'll go for her and get her something from there. His ultimate goal is to buy her something and win her favor in the end. He has romanticized about how things will be, and Araby plays a part in helping him achieve his goal. That is not how it ends up, but that is his goal.