How do you write a character sketch for "Araby" by James Joyce?How do you write a character sketch for "Araby" by James Joyce?

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susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When you write a character sketch, you should first determine if your character is static or dynamic.  If the character you have chosen to write about is static, then you identify certain traits that you think the character possesses and show why these are significant to the decisions he makes in the story.  If you think the character is dynamic, or changes, in the story, you must first determine how the character is before the change, the factors that cause his change, and the effects of such a change on the character.

In your case, the narrator of "Araby" is most definitely a dynamic character.  His epiphany at the end of the story changes his perspective on Mangan's sister, his life, and his environment.  When we first meet him, he is on the brink of adolescence, desperatively infatuated with Mangan's sister, and oblivious to his surroundings.  His trip to "Araby" causes him to be disillusioned, to feel like a foolish and vain creature.  Why does this trip have such an effect on him?  What does he understand now that he did not before?  Why were his earlier perceptions wrong?  How does this change reflect the narrator's character?

Answering these questions in a structured way will result in an insightful character study.  To get more ideas, you might look at the enotes link I included below.

susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Okay, more simply stated, the narrator of the short story has a crush on Mangan's sister.  Mangan is a friend of his. The narrator barely knows Mangan's sister, but he likes the way she looks.   The narrator has a simple conversation with her and blows it all out of proportion.  He thinks it his mission to go to Araby to buy her a gift.  He is very romantic, and in his thinking about this girl he pays no heed to his boring and drab environment.

Arriving too late to the bazaar, the narrator realizes that he was blind to the fact he made too much of this conversation.  The fair itself is nothing what he imagined it to be.  It is as drab and ordinary as his neighborhood.  He understands better his reality.  So he goes from being very romantic to being very depressed.  Try to back up this change with specific references to the story, and you'll have a good paper.

I hope this time I was able to help.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, it also depends on the character you want to focus on. To me, it is worth paying attention to the character of Mangan's sister as well and considering how she fits in to the change or development of the narrator. You will want to think how she is described from the narrator's point of view and in particular what images are associated with her and how this fits in with the narrator's naivety and romantic notions. Clearly Mangan's sister is a minor character in this short story but nonetheless is important in terms of how she acts on the narrator.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Underscoring what has been stated in post #6, a consideration of the interactions of the main character with the other characters and other influences upon him are all important in a character sketch. In "Araby," the development of character revolves around the young man's progression from illusion--the influence of the romantic tales left behind by a priest causes him to confusion infatuation with religious fervor-- to dark and cold reality and his epiphany in which he experiences his disillusionment.

epollock | Student

The young boy in the short story "Araby" goes from an illusion of infatuation to the harsh reality of "reality" as he discovers that perhaps Mangan's sister might not have even spoke to him. he overhears the clerks talk of their "tawdry wares" and realizes that he was mistaken in his beliefs.

tealseal | Student

Thanks a lot for a simply stated answer. You really helped me.


tealseal | Student

can you send me another answer with simple english.  I'm grade 9 only.  thanks


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