Araby Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

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

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Scott David eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Taken from James Joyce's Dubliners, "Araby" tells a coming of age story, following a young boy who is infatuated with a girl, referred to in the story as Mangan's sister. I don't think any story can be really boiled down to a single theme, but taken as a whole, I would say that, within the story, there is a fundamental tension by which the main character's own experience and feelings are juxtaposed against the general indifference of the people around him.

Within the boy's own imagination, he casts himself as a hero of sorts. This is a mindset that is reflected in his desire to go to the bazaar, to purchase a gift for Mangan's sister. That heroic character is something which exists only in his imagination. The people around him have no insight into his own internal life, nor do they have any real interest in that internal life.

As the story proceeds, we see reality breaking the illusions he has made for himself, through his experience with the bazaar. His uncle, who promised to take him to...

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