Which statement best summarizes the story "Araby"? a) Confusion eventually leads to depression b) Dreams often end in disillusionment c) Hatred and love are two sides of the same coin d)...

Which statement best summarizes the story "Araby"?

a) Confusion eventually leads to depression

b) Dreams often end in disillusionment

c) Hatred and love are two sides of the same coin

d) Despair usually gives way to hope

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The best summary is "B." The story shows how dreams end up in disillusionment.

The boy narrator of "Araby" tries to escape through dreams from his dull existence as a Dublin schoolboy. His dreams center mainly around Mangan's sister, an older girl he develops a crush on, and the bazaar called "Araby," which is coming to Dublin. He promises to get Mangan's sister a gift at the bazaar. In his mind, the bazaar and the girl seem to conflate or merge to represent all that is desirable, exotic, and different from his mundane life.

However, the bazaar, when he arrives to it late, is cheap and mundane, just like the rest of Dublin. He ends the story filled with bitter disillusion as his dream of encountering a more sublime existence crumbles.

The ending of the story is called an epiphany: it is not an event, but the boy's realization or sudden insight that he has put his hopes in false dreams.

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The statement that best summarizes the story is "dreams often end in disillusionment." 

Joyce's short story begins with the idealism of youth and ends in bitter disappointment when he realizes that reality cannot possibly hope to live up to his expectations.  Like the young man's day dreams of Mangan's sister in which "her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance," his dreams of going to the "splendid bazaar" make Araby seem romantic and adventurous.  In truth, the fabulous bazaar turned out to be dingy, dark, and empty; the merchandise was dull and more than half the lights were out.  In the end, his "eyes burned with anguish and anger," because he realized how foolish he had been and felt embarrassed.

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