By the end of the story, the narrator of this fascinating tale has experienced the crushing force of reality in all of its might as it deals a killing blow to the forces of illusion and fantasy that have dominated in his life and thinking. This story focuses on the infatuation of our young narrator with a girl known only as Mangan's sister, who asks our narrator to go to a bazzar and buy something for her. This girl has long been a source of fascination and interest for the narrator, and now that he has actually spoken to her, his dreams of their romance reach fever pitch as he begins to think that he is some kind of knight fulfilling romantic quests on behalf of his lady. However, at the end of the story, when he reaches the bazaar, and sees it for the bleak, boring place that it actually is, he suffers an epiphany that results in the death of all of his dreams:
Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.
The boy suddenly realises just how stupid he has been and how illusory all of his thoughts and hopes were. Paralleled by the turning off of the lights at the bazaar, the light of his romantic illusions is now firmly switched off, leaving him to face the darkness of reality alone.