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James Joyce's story Araby is apparently a simple enough love-story about an unnamed Dublin boy living in North Richmond Street who falls in love with his playmate Mangan's sister, with whom he hardly meets or talks. But he builds all his idealistic fantasy around her serene image which is his backbone in an otherwise humdrum daily life. His intensity for her grows and becomes laced with a latent sexual charge. Finally the two meet and she refers to an oriental fair called Araby where she would have liked to go but cannot go as their school fest has clashed with its dates. She does not really instruct him to go to the place but the boy's entire intensity now shifts to Araby as that one definitive word spoken by her. It becomes her. He conceptualizes it as a fantasy-land of purity and innocence. The rest of the story is about the boy's rather troubled and delayed visit to the place only to find it as a drab market or bazaar where everything is artificial and on sale, where human speech loses meaning. There is no charm and the boy is severely disappointed at this. The story ends with an epiphanic moment when the boy stands all alone in the darkening passage of the place and sees himself in the derision of all his false pride and stupidity. It is a deeply disturbing and yet learning moment for him--a slice of experience that will make a man out of the boy perhaps. As Pound said, Araby is not only a story; it is also a 'vivid waiting'.
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