Araby Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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In James Joyce's "Araby," why are some characters unnamed?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would argue that Mangan's sister is unnamed because she represents an ideal object of the boy's love, and as such, is unattainable. His love for her is just a pipe dream, a boyish fantasy which never had the remotest chance of becoming real. She sends him off on a fool's errand to the bazaar, which itself perfectly epitomizes the unreal world the boy has been inhabiting. If Mangan's sister were given a name, then that would give his amorous feelings a specific object, something tangible and real. But his boyish infatuation has no object as such. Instead it is caught up in a general desire to escape from the restrictions and frustrations of a life that is impoverished, both materially and emotionally. The lack of a name or any specific object for these turbulent emotions, means that they have nowhere to go, and so the frustration continues.

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The characters, most notably the narrator and Mangan's sister, are unnamed in order to emphasize the universality of the narrator's experience. He...

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Michael Del Muro eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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