Comment critically on the ending of "Araby."
"Araby" is a rite de passage, or rite of passage story. The narrator matures in the course of the story from a naive young boy to a jaded young man. The boy is intent on going to the bazaar because he wants to buy something rare and exotic for the girl he has crush on. All he can think of is getting to the bazaar and buying her a gift: "The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me."
When he gets there, however, he finds no "Eastern enchantments." There were no Arab sultans or dancing harem girls. There are only people "with English accents" counting money and who speak to him "out of a sense of duty." His boyish illusion has been shattered and he begins to see himself "as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger."
In the end he realizes that there is nothing for him at Araby, and all his hopes about entering a romantic world beyond the quiet, decent, brown street of his childhood have been reduced to fantasy. His realization and acceptance represent a loss of innocence, which makes him angry. The loss also wounds him. He realizes that his strong emotions were aroused only by a fantasy, for the idea of Mangan's sister and not for the real girl. This reality is symbolized by the English shop girl at the bazaar, with her discouraging tone of voice and her flirting ways toward the two men.
The boy must admit to himself that his worshipful love was tainted with lust. He experiences a painful disappointment when he acknowledges that he is a victim of his own vanity. He is not a pure spiritual being, but a boy growing to manhood in the material word and a human being subject to self-delusion and "blindness".
"Araby" is a story about first love and the frustration the boy feels at the end of the story when that love doesn't turn out to be what he expected. The boy is between childhood and adolescence, and he doesn't know what to expect. As a result, he idealizes what romance should bring him. It is the boy's first experience with love, and his immaturity causes him to overreact to the feelings he has about Mangan's sister. The same thing happens when he gets to the bazaar and realizes he's behaved like a fool. He again overreacts with his disappointment in love, viewing it as silly and unattainable. His overreaction of the situation is typical of a young person going through an adult situation for the first time. This experience marks his passage into the world of love and romance.