Based on the quote below, what change has the protagonist of "Araby" by James Joyce undergone?"Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a...

Based on the quote below, what change has the protagonist of "Araby" by James Joyce undergone?

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

Expert Answers
iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The quote you reference is the final sentence in James Joyce's "Araby," and it is arguably the most important sentence in the whole story, as it illustrates the protagonist's disillusionment with both his childhood crush and the idealistic world of childhood in general.

Throughout the short story, Joyce's nameless narrator obsesses over one of the girls who lives on his street, another nameless character known only as Mangan's sister. The narrator's crush quickly grows to idealistic proportions, and so, when he goes to Araby to buy the girl a present, he does so in the pompous belief that he's proving his love just like a dashing knight in shining armor. Indeed, the importance the narrator places on his "love" quickly proves itself to be blown out of proportion.

The narrator realizes this fact when he arrives at the bazaar and finds it to be far less exotic than he'd imagined. As a matter of fact, Araby proves to be a rather dreary place populated by disinterested adults. The quote you've listed here refers to the narrator's disillusionment with the bazaar and, by extension, his disillusionment with his childhood crush and fantasies. Thus, the quote shows that the narrator has changed by rejecting his childhood idealism and moving toward the more realistic (and perhaps more cynical) world of adults.