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The central paradox of the story is the contrast between the boy's dreams of going to what imagines to be a fantastical place, the bazaar named Araby, and the reality of what Araby is actually like. The young boy who is the first person narrator of the story is in love with his friend Mangan's sister. She is older and the young boy adores her with a single-minded devotion. When she asks if he is going to Araby, he says yes and he promises to bring something back for her. His mind immediately creates something of Araby that it probably can't deliver. He says that "my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me." He is clearly building up very big expectations. Because he delayed in going to the bazaar he doesn't arrive until the very end of the day when things are winding down and "nearly all the stalls were closed. I recognized the silence like that which pervades a church after a service." He is too late to truly experience the bazaar and what is left to experience is a huge let-down. The one shop that is open has a disinterested shopkeeper, and he realizes the he has failed in his quest to find the perfect thing for the girl he loves. He is paradoxially very alone, yet around others in the bazaar. The story ends with his observation that "I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; my eyes burned with anguish and anger." The young boy grew up in that moment. He came to Araby and naive youngster, but leaves a young man who recognizes the harsh reality of life. He is paradoxically both at the same time.
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