What is the theme of "Araby" by James Joyce?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One of the story's most important themes is the extraordinary hold that fantasy can exert upon us, how it can distort our perspective of what is real.

The unnamed boy protagonist is certainly in the grip of a very powerful, intoxicating fantasy. He yearns to escape the confines of his boring, workaday existence, with its relative poverty and lack of excitement, to a world of exotic fantasy, the kind of fantasy that he believes will be provided by the bazaar of the title.

Mangan's sister, the object of the boy's affections, is a crucial component of the fantasy world he's constructed for himself. She is the main reason for his going to the bazaar as he wants to buy her a nice gift. But as the boy stands there in the darkening hall, with all the stalls being packed up, cold hard reality finally hits home, and the fantasy which had previously held him in its thrall has vanished forever.

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Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In this story, the narrator discovers that his feelings for Mangan's sister are of absolutely no importance...

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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