Why is the story called "Araby"?

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suman1983's profile pic

suman1983 | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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‘Araby’ is the name of the bazaar, the ‘Grand Oriental Fete’, held in Dublin from 14th to 19th May, 1894. Don Gifford in his Joyce Annotated: Notes for Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man notes: “Araby was a poetic name for Arabia and was suggestive of the heady and sensuous romanticism of popular tales and poems about Middle East.” Joyce chooses ‘Araby’ as the title of his story because it is the place where the boy craves to go after he experiences “sensuous romanticism” and encounters epiphany.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The story is called "Araby" because that is the name of the bazaar that the narrator wants to attend. The term refers to anything Arabian, and it connotes something foreign and exotic. The colors and textures and smells of "Araby" are more enchanting than the drab everyday reality of Dublin. The narrator thinks that he can win the heart of the girl he has a crush on if only he can give her something that he bought at this bazaar.


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