Araby Questions and Answers
by James Joyce

Araby book cover
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What is the mental status of the narrator in this story?

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jihyunkim67 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The present identity of the narrator is an adult who has gone through adolescence to become a mature and responsible being. He is telling the story as if he is having flashbacks to when he was a teenager. This is evident through his sophisticated writing style and a cynical attitude towards his past self. The narrator who actually goes to the 'Araby' to experience an awakening is a mere teenage boy who is besotted with Mangan's sister. He is so inane and blinded at the beginning that the identity of Mangan's sister might as well be just an imaginary character. Nevertheless, when the narrator goes to the Araby on his 'quest' for the chalice, he suddenly becomes aware of his surroundings and delusions he had for himself. By the end of the story, the mental state of the narrator alters completely from a young, misguided child to a responsible and wise adult. 

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bayanjk | Student

The boy is in a childlike mental state. This can be easily discerned based on the text. For example he praises her (O love! O love!) which seems as if he is confusing his religion with his infatuation with Mangan's "angelic" sister.