In "Araby," how does the adult narrator's view of events differ from the boy he describes?

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In “Araby,” differences between the narrator’s view of events and that of the boy lie primarily in his assessment of the boy’s behavior and attitudes. While the narrator never explicitly states that he is an adult, the kinds of value judgments he makes indicates a passage of time. One example is when he describes his younger self as “foolish.”

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Araby” employs a first-person narrator who is apparently older than the boy whose experiences and emotional reactions he recounts. It is not explicitly stated that the narrator is an adult, but it is most likely that some time has passed since the story’s events occurred. There are several differences in the narrator’s perspective that indicate a more mature outlook and detachment, as contrasted to an intensity more typical of a child’s feelings. The narrator is also judgmental about the boy’s attitudes.

When the narrator explains the boy’s crush on Mangan’s sister, the description of the boy’s daily actions indicates that he has reflected on these events. For the boy, it would seem natural to be so shy around the older girl that he would rarely even speak to her. The narrator sums up the emotional reaction to her name as it affects his “blood”; at the time, the boy would not likely have labeled his feelings as “foolish.”

I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.

The narrator continues describing the jumble of emotions that would probably be associated with a first crush. He emphasizes the confusion that such feelings caused as well as the immediacy of those sensations. Lack of understanding and not knowing the reasons for his feelings are highlighted.

Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) …. I thought little of the future.

After he offers to bring Mangan’s sister something from the Araby bazaar, the narrator expands on the boy’s foolish sensations, labeling them “follies.” By the story’s end, when his quest goes unfulfilled, the boy is close to tears. The narrator again takes a harshly judgmental tone.

I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity.

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