What would be a good thesis statement for a short story analysis of "Araby" by James Joyce?

Expert Answers
jmj616 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Araby," by James Joyce, is the story of a young boy, probably on the verge of adolescence, who is obsessed with a girl in his neighborhood. The boy, who narrates the story in the first person, tells us in his brief introduction that he has never actually spoken to this girl; still,

Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises...My eyes were often full of tears ...and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom...I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration.

When he finally speaks to the girl, the boy promises her that he will go to a fair, called "Araby," and he will bring back a gift for her.

During the days leading up to the fair, the boy can think of nothing but the fair and the girl.  

When the boy finally arrives at the fair, it is a great disappointment. He arrives shortly before closing time, and most of the booths are already closed.  There is nothing to buy.  The lights are turned off, and "the upper part of the hall [is]...completely dark."

The narrator now experiences a classic Joyceian epiphany (a moment of self-discovery):

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

It was vain and ridiculous to think that he could become friends with this angelic girl by buying her a trinket from this worthless fair.


a) People often delude themselves with false hopes.

b) We only come to recognize reality through personal experience. 

Unlock This Answer Now