What kind of society does the story "Araby" reflect?

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator of "Araby" is a poor Irish Catholic boy with longings for beauty and exoticism, both exemplified by the Mangan's sister and the bazaar, the "Araby" of the title.  His family is staunchly Catholic, reflecting the enmity between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.  

We can tell the narrator is from a very poor family by looking at the author's description of the neighborhood, with "dark muddy lanes" and "dark odorous stables" (271), and the author's various hints that money is hard to come by.  The narrator takes a third class ticket to go to the bazaar and could not find a sixpenny ticket to enter.  We know that the neighborhood and family are Catholic because the family lives in house that was once inhabited by a priest, and the narrator's aunt is concerned that the bazaar might be a Freemason's event, Freemasons being Protestants. 

The story is replete with information that allows us to see a poor society, with strong Catholic and anti-Protestant feelings, and a narrator who, having been enticed by the books left by the priest, longs for more in life.