Many of the themes James Joyce presents in his short stories is through epiphanies, or sudden realizations about some aspect of life. The unnamed teenage male narrator in "Araby" makes this dramatic statement at the end 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.”
"Araby" is the third story in Joyce's Dubliners collection and the last in the section Joyce labeled "childhood." In addition, this is the final story that is told in first person. The story is about a teenage boy who becomes madly obsessed with his friend Mangan's sister. He promises her that he'll go to the Araby bazaar and buy her something because she can't make it due to a religious retreat.
The story begins with one of the story's primary themes, blindness, being repeated over and over again. The narrator lives on a street that is blind and is constantly peeking at the girl through blinds.
Throughout the story, the narrator imagines a world with Mangan's sister and includes several wonderful metaphors describing his feelings toward her. This is the best one:
“I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.”
At the end of the story, when the boy reaches his destination, he sees a young girl at the bazaar flirting with two British boys and this upsets him. He reaches that realization that he was blinded by his feelings toward the girl and this causes him to cry.