Araby is one of James Joyce's short stories from The Dubliners' collection. The stories all have similar enduring topics. In some instances, as with Araby, there appears to be a sense of hope when opportunity presents itself, but it is often overshadowed by hopelessness, as a kind of paralysis or apathy and indifference dominates the characters' surroundings.
The boy's actions are prompted by his boyhood crush and he thinks of Mangan's sister, the object of his pursuit, in the most unlikely of places, her name always inspiring him: "Her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood..." He promises to bring her a gift from the bazaar and is excited to have actually spoken with her.
Having waited anxiously for his uncle to return home so that he can leave for the bazaar, he arrives at the bazaar very late and hurries inside the "magical" building. He is disappointed that many of the stalls are closed or closing and a conversation which he overhears brings him to a stark reality that the bazaar is certainly not the amazing and exotic place he anticipated, with the possibility of improving his chances with Mangan's sister. He can see now that he is insignificant in the scheme of things.
This ultimate realization, his epiphany, when, even as a child, he comes to the conclusion that his actions are misguided, even futile, and that he is "driven and derided by vanity," makes the boy feel quite ridiculous and even irritated with himself that he has been so naive as to expect the bazaar where he now stands looking at objects that hold no real value, to have been the turning point in his life, in his transition from boyhood to manhood. This self-realization is difficult to accept.