The character of the narrator of Araby

The character of the narrator of Araby

Question: How does James Joyce show the romantic cravings of a young heart in a realistic setting “Araby”?

Or, trace the gradual development of the boy protagonist in the story ‘Araby’

Or, sketch the character of the narrator of the story ‘Araby’


Araby is a fantastic short story of an adolescent boy’s journey from a visionary world to reality composed by James Joyce (1882-1941). The story talks about the universal problem of teenagers at the very bottom level. In the story, excessive romantic cravings or expectations of a young heart in a realistic setting have been presented well by the writer.

Fragile quest for ideal beauty and romance

The main focus of the story is on the protagonist‘s failure in his quest for ideal beauty and romance. It is known to all that puberty is a dangerous or perilous time period of change or transition. It happens with the protagonist of the adolescent hero of the story “Araby’. The adolescent boy is in love with Mangan’s sister who is considered to be the heroine. He could not understand anything about the reality of the world but by end of the story, he can realize that the world is not like what he actually thinks about. It happens with all the adolescents of the universe.

Click here: For all notes of short stories

Secret enjoyment of love

As an adolescent, the protagonist of the story is very much imaginative. He is passionately loved by his friend’s sister. He enjoys his love lonely and secretly. He observes his beloved from the shadow and through the window of his uncle’s house. The most interesting aspect of his love is that he never speaks with his loved girl.

”I had never spoken to her except for a few casual words”

There is hardly any communication between the two. But her every appearance is a huge or immense source of enjoyment for the narrator. Even her name is like the religious calling to him. Though there is no communication between them, the narrator thinks that he is always with his beloved because her image is with him every single moment. He can never forget the image of his loved girl even for a moment. He meditates or contemplates in the classroom, in the Bazar, and even in the deserted room of the dead priest. By dint of his imagination, he transfers an insipid or a dull situation into a pleasing one that is why the girl is the symbol of ideal beauty to him.

“Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance”

Conflict of heart

The narrator of the story is so imaginative and passionate that sometimes he is even confused about his love and passion. There is no bound of his fancy as to the girl. He could not illustrate his feelings in words. For this, he has compared his body with a musical instrument and words and appearance with fingers. It is in the narrator’s tongue:

‘My body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires”

From this, it is understandable that the narrator is in an excessive romantic mood but his romantic life does not last long. It vanishes when he talks with his girl about Araby. She tells him that she could not go to the fair and whether he is going or not. He tells her that he is going to the fair and he must bring a gift for her. From the moment, he talks to her about Araby that has been an ideal place for him. He starts to plan regarding Araby but he fails in every step. When he arrives at Araby, he realizes it more because the real world is totally different from the ideal world. He bursts into anger realizing that money is inevitable for the world, not imaginative romance.


In termination, it is conspicuous that “Araby” is a story about the journey of an adolescent boy’s imaginative romance to reality. The writer presents the journey by using the literary term epiphany.

Ruhul Huda
Ruhul Huda

You can call me Mr. Huda. I am a researcher and doing this work for years. I like to learn everywhere. So, feel free to share your experience with me.

Articles: 158

Leave a Reply