What are the conflicts faced by the narrator in "Araby"?

Expert Answers info

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

It is clear from this excellent short story that the conflict lies in the fact that the boy's ideas about Mangan's sister and about Araby are sheer illusions. Neither the relationship as the boy imagines it nor Araby as a place of mystical enchantment actually exists in reality. Consider the following quote about how the narrator himself imagines his "quest":

I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand.

Here we can see clearly that the narrator is placing himself in the role of knight errant, on a Romantic quest to gain something for his lady. Consider how the description of the bazaar at the end of the story shows reality crushing in upon the narrator. He travels there in a "bare carriage" and disembarks on an "improvised platform". The bazaar, far from being a place full of Eastern mysticism, contains nothing more exciting than vases and tea sets and people engaged in mundane conversation. This is where the conflict ends as the narrator realises his own foolishness in a moving moment of epiphany when he grows up:

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

The narrator sees the truth in a crushing moment of self-realisation and recognises that the reality of his relationship with Mangan's sister and the reality about Araby.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


eagles0593 | Student

Alienation and loneliness- narrator never shares any cosern with Mangan's sister with anybody. ho=e isolates himself from his friends

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
desperado-stranger | Student

conflict between his innocent interpretation of reality and actual reality......

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
pothwei | Student

love and failure

check Approved by eNotes Editorial