Araby Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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Please describe narrator in "Araby."

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The narrator is a Dubliner in Dubliners by James Joyce, the story collection "Araby" is included in.  Just as the street and neighborhood is described, indirectly or figuratively, as blind, so is the narrator.  He becomes obsessed with an illusion, a combination of his idealistic view of Mangan's sister, and his idealistic view of his relationship with Mangan's sister.

He suffers terribly, like an adoliescent will, in the days preceeding his trip to buy her a gift at the traveling bazaar, Araby.  He neglects his studies and can think of nothing else.  He is blind to the truth that Mangan's sister hardly even knows he exists, and that they do not really have much of a relationship.

The combination of the bazaar being closed (for the most part), the trivial, senseless flirting by the workers he overhears, the rudeness of the worker who asks him if he needs anything, and something about the few items for sale, leads him to sight, figuratively.  He realizes how silly he's been, that he's been infatuated with and controlled by an illusion.  He states his epiphany in the final lines of the story:

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

Notice the reference to the eyes.  His eyes figuratively fool him into falling for an illusion.  Now, they are figuratively opened. 




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gwenyanih | Student

hindi ko yan alam eh sorry hahaha :P

epollock | Student

The narrator is an adult telling about events that occurred specifically to him when he was an early adolescent. If one considers the story as fictionalized autobiography, the time of the events can be determined as 1893–1894, with the narrator therefore being a boy of eleven or twelve. It is difficult to determine the age of the narrator at the time of the narration, except to note that he is not yet mature himself, for he still evidences embarrassment at his childhood feelings (see, for example, the end of paragraph 4). The narrator also seems distant enough from the prayerful "O Love" sequence to share the scene with readers despite the fact that it is amusing (paragraph 6).