Who are the main characters in "Araby" - James Joyce. 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main characters in "Araby" are the narrator, an unnamed young man, Mangan's sister, and the uncle.

  • The narrator 

The youth takes the reader on a journey of the mind as his perceptions, which certainly extend beyond the temporal, are what are presented in the narration. His romantic illusions recreate Mangan's sister, the object of his romantic desire, and imbue her with his shrouded lust as he stays in the shadows and defines her "by the light from the half-opened door" in which she stands. As he carries groceries for his aunt, he imagines that he is a knight who bears the Holy Grail: "I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes."

Of course, these illusions do not last, and after he goes to the bazaar, the narrator's fog of adolescent lust clears and he sees himself "as a creature driven and derided by vanity" in a crushing epiphany.

  • Mangan's sister

Originally perceived as "shrouded in mystery," Mangan's sister is more mundane than the narrator realizes. She, too, is not named in order to convey how impractical and illusory the narrator's perception of her is. He has elevated her to an almost saintly position as he sees her with an aura of light behind her. Yet, she is no spiritual creature as she is described as turning "a silver bracelet round and round her wrist." 

  • The uncle

The narrator's uncle seems to display little concern for the youth's desires. When the youth reminds his uncle on Saturday that he wishes to attend the bazaar in the evening, his uncle answers curtly, "Yes, boy, I know." However, he neglects to return until nine o'clock because he has stopped at the pub and he has forgotten. He apologizes, but detains the youth as he asks his nephew if he knows The Arab's Farewell to His Steed, and he begins to recite the first lines.