I need to give a presentation about James Joyce's "Araby." What is the most important information to include?

Expert Answers
iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A great theme to include in your presentation on James Joyce's "Araby" is the topic of disillusionment. It's one of the most important things Joyce touches on in the story, and so it might be worth mentioning.

The narrator of Joyce's short story is a little boy who is enamored with two things: the exotic adventure promised by the bazaar called "Araby," and his crush on a girl in the neighborhood, a character only known as Mangan's sister (the fact that she is only identifiable through her relationship to her brother is another potential fascinating topic to focus on, as it provides the fodder for a great feminist critique, but that's perhaps adding too much to your plate). The narrator idealizes both of these things, building them up to monumental proportions. 

In the end, the little boy is disappointed. "Gazing up into the darkness" (36) of the nearly deserted bazaar, the boy says "I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger" (36). In making this statement, the boy illustrates his disillusionment with his prior obsessions; recognizing the harsh realities of the adult world, the boy abandons the idealizations of childhood. Thus, one of the most significant topics in the story is disillusionment. 

mc-writes | Student

The story "Araby" by James Joyce focuses on the topic of infatuation, which is important to include in a presentation.  

Infatuation is displayed in the interaction of the narrator with the girl known only as "Mangan's sister."  The narrator of the story displays his feelings of infatuation for Mangan's sister by admiring her from afar, and going out of his way to reach the bazaar at Araby to buy her something nice.  Even though the narrator "had never spoken to her except for a few casual words," she "was like a summons to all my [his] foolish blood" (Dubliners, p. 21).  The beginning, the climax, and the epiphany of the story all focus around the narrator's infatuation of Mangan's sister.  Overall, Joyce's short story "Araby" emphasizes how vain and foolish people can be in the face of infatuation.