When does the boy in "Araby" experience an epiphany and what effect does it have on him?

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lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The epiphany gained by the young man happens at the very end of the story.  He has had his crush on his friend Magnan's sister for a awhile, and he has his plan to go to the bazaar, Araby, and bring back something special for the young lady.  He has built up Araby in his imagination to something very special.  Unfortunately, he is delayed in his getting to the bazaar and by the time he arrives it is already closing down for the night.  Several shops are closed or closing up and the one that is still open has a very disinterested sales girl running the place.  She is more interested in flirting with boys than helping the young man of the story.  The boy is incredibly disappointed by the entire experience.  His epiphany is that the reality of things can never live up to the build-up created in the imagination of those things.  He went to Araby as a young naive boy, but he loses that innocence in the passing of his time at Araby.  He will return home empty handed and forever changed.