Does the boy's growing sense of isolation have, also, moments that are almost triumphant?
This is from discussion part of my text book. I couldn't understand also the following paragraph.
Does this mean there's a positive side for the boy?
- The porters at the station wave the crowds back, "saying that it was a special train for the bazaar." and was not for them. The boy is left alone in the bare carriage, but he's going to "Araby," moving triumphantly toward some romantic and exotic fulfillment. The metaphor of the chalice implies the same kind of precious secret triumph.
You are certainly right to identify this part of the story as key in helping to establish the theme, however I think you are somewhat misguided in your assessment. Let us have another look at this passage and let us also remember that this paragraph comes as the boy is finally able to go to Araby and fulfill or accomplish the noble quest he has been given by Mangan's sister. Let us also remember that the boy frames this quest in obviously high-blown and Romantic terms:
I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes.
This is almost Arthurian in its imagery and the boy obviously casts himself in the role of knight-errant fulfilling the quest of his lady.
However, as his journey begins, the description of what happens and what he sees irony mocks his notions of nobility and Romanticism:
I took my seat in a third-class carriage of a deserted train. After an intolerable delay the train moved out of the station slowly. It crept onward among ruinous houses and over teh twinkling river. At Westland Row Station a crowd of people pressed to the carriage doors; but the porters moved them back, saying that it was a special train for the bazaar. I remained alone in the bare carriage. In a few minutes the train drew up beside an improvised wooden platform.
Note the irony here - the train is "deserted". It is apparently a special train for the bazaar, and yet the boy is alone - no one else wants to go on this train. It is described as "bare" - hardly appealing or attractive. When the train finally arrives at the bazaar, it draws up beside an "improvised" platform - obviously a detail that emphasises the rough and ready nature of the bazaar - hardly the centre of romance and mysticism the boy is hoping for. Thus such details as you have observed do not add a triumphant note to the boy's growing sense of isolation. Rather they pave the way for the epiphany at the end of the story, when the boy realises that he is a "creature driven and derided by vanity" and he comes to terms with the childish nature of his hopes and dreams.