State the psychological development of the central figure in Joyce's "Araby."
At the beginning of the story, the narrator is a naively optimistic young boy, one who imagines that the world will make way for his intense love and longing for Mangan's sister. "Her image accompanied [him] even in places the most hostile to romance": the market and the streets full of drunken men, prostitutes, cursing laborers, and shop boys. He has no patience "with the serious work of life" and cannot concentrate in school because "it stood between [him] and [his] desire [...]." It all feels like "child's play" to him in comparison to his thoughts of her and Araby, the exotic bazaar at which he hopes to procure a gift for her that will do justice to his love.
However, when the day comes for him to go to Araby, "The air was pitilessly raw and already [his] heart misgave [him]." He begins to feel as though something will go wrong, and it does. Many somethings do: first, his uncle is very late, and then he has to eat before the narrator can address him. His uncle has forgotten that he'd promised the narrator he could go and asks many questions that detain him further. Though the river seemed to twinkle and the streetlights "glared with gas"—light that reminds him of his love—the train is delayed and then only "crept onward" when it does run.
When he arrives at Araby, it is costly to get in, and then all the stalls are closed save one: an English girl sells china teacups and vases, nothing exotic at all. He hears the clinking of coins, the flirtation between the girl and some other boys, and the lights go out around him. Finally, he says, "Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger." In the end, he realizes that the world cares nothing for his love, for his hopes. In the end, he is unimportant, and he becomes aware of his vanity in thinking that the world would make way for him, that his love would somehow entitle him to happiness. He sees that he and his love are unremarkable, and his disappointment and sorrow cut him deeply.