In the story "Araby," why might Joyce not mention the object of the narrator's affections until well into the story?

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sensei918 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his story, "Araby," Joyce does not mention the object of the narrator's affection as Mangan's sister until the reader is well into it. One reason that he may have done this is to make sure the reader is focused on the character of the narrator: how he thinks, how young and idealistic he is, how little he knows about the affairs of the heart. Another reason could be that Joyce wants to keep the woman anonymous to indicate that the fact the narrator is "in love" is more important than the object of his affections. We see the young woman as an ideal, not a real person but someone the narrator has created to suit his own romantic purposes - all the better to set him up for his inevitable disappointment. By the time the reader knows who the narrator's love object is, he/she relates to the main character and is on his side, rooting for him, even knowing that he is about to learn a hard lesson about life and love.