James Joyce was born into a middle-class, Catholic family in
Rathgar, a suburb of Dublin, on February 2, 1882.
Joyce's father, John Joyce even though he was a goodnatured man, was a drinker who wasted the family's
resources. The family’s prosperity dwindled, forcing them to
move from their comfortable home to the unfashionable and
impoverished area of North Dublin.
Nonetheless, Joyce attended a prestigious Jesuit school and
went on to study philosophy and languages at University
College, Dublin. He moved to Paris after graduation in 1902 to
pursue medical school, but instead he turned his attention to
In 1903 he returned to Dublin, where he met his future
wife, Nora Barnacle, the following year.
From then on, Joyce made his home in other countries.
From 1905 to 1915 he and Nora lived in Rome and
Trieste, Italy, and from 1915 to 1919 they lived in Zurich,
Switzerland. Between World War I and World War II, they
lived in Paris. They returned to Zurich in 1940, where
Joyce died in 1941
James Joyce based Araby on his own experiences as an
adolescent resident of Dublin in 1894, when Ireland was chafing
under British rule.
Like the fictional narrator of Araby, Joyce lived on North
Richmond Street (No. 17) in the central part of the city. He was
also undergoing a period of self-discovery.
However, unlike the narrator, Joyce was not an orphan. In
Araby Joyce presents Dublin as a bleak city struggling against
The climactic scene takes place in South Dublin, across the River
Liffey from central Dublin, at a bazaar in a large building. Such a
bazaar—billed as Araby: a Grand Oriental Fête (or as “A Grand
Oriental Fête: Araby in Dublin”) was actually held in Dublin
between May 14 and May 19, 1894, to benefit a local hospital.
The nameless narrator of the story talks about life on
North Richmond Street. The former tenant of their
apartment was a priest who died.
Some books have been left behind, and the young boy
narrator sometimes looks at them. He is raised by his aunt
One of his playmates is a boy named Mangan, and the
narrator develops a crush on Mangan’s sister. Mangan
and his sister live in a building across the street.
The sister often comes to the front of their house to call
the brother, a moment that the narrator savours. The
narrator watches her stealthily, waiting for her to leave in
the mornings so that he can follow her on part of his way
One day, Mangan’s sister finally speaks to him. She asks
if he will go to Araby, a Dublin bazaar .She cannot
attend, because she is going on a religious retreat that
weekend. Having recovered from the shock of the
conversation, the narrator offers to bring her something
from the bazaar.
He gets permission to go, and for days he cannot
concentrate. On the morning of the bazaar, the narrator
reminds his uncle that he plans to attend the event so
that the uncle will return home early and provide train
That night, his uncle is late. The boy despairs of being
able to go at all, but finally his uncle comes home. His
uncle has forgotten about the bazaar, and by now it is
quite late. But the boy still wants to go, and he takes the
small sum of money for the train and heads off.
He arrives at the bazaar just as it is closing. Only a few
stalls are open. He approaches one stall that is still open,
but buys nothing, feeling unwanted by the woman
watching over the goods. With no purchase for
Mangan’s sister, the narrator stands angrily in the
deserted bazaar as the lights go out.
1. North Richmond Street
The place where the unnamed boy lives with his
uncle and aunt.
The setting of the place is being described with
“The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives
within them, gazed at one another with brown
The Arabian theme bazaar.
The place where the boy wants to get something to
He finally realizing how naïve he was about the trip.
“Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall was
in darkness. I recognized a silence like that which pervades a
church after a service.”
1. The unnamed boy
The narrator of the story.
Lives with his uncle and aunt.
Become infatuated with Mangan’s sister.
Naïve and immature.
how he let his feeling overtake his mind and allowed his body to act on
romantic feeling towards Mangan’s sister bring him to the bazaar.
2. The boy’s uncle and aunt
The boy’s guardian.
The relationship between the boy and his uncle
and aunt is not close.
They don’t understand why it’s so for the boy to get to
(Shmoop Editorial Team 2008)
3. Mangan’s sister
A girl whom the boy is attracted.
The person that gives hope to the boy to escape from
his dull life.
We were introduce with the character, the author describe
boy’s living area. The author described the house where it
was the boy’s play ground and where the priest had died.
Basically, the author talked about how boring the boy’s life is.
Joyce also describe the boy’s crush. He always wanted to
talk to her, he remember her figure and always spying on her
(every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlour watching
her door. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the
sash so that i could not be seen). This shows that he is so
obsessed with her. The author also told us that the boy “had
never spoken to her”.
“The boy is physically attracted to her, and does not know
how to respond, so naturally, his heart guides him towards
admiring her from a distance”. (
Finally the girl talked to him. He did not know what to
say. When he finally gets to speak with the girl, ask him if
he would/can go to Araby. “The boy forgot whether he
said yes or no probably because at the time it wasn’t
important to him”. (
The girl said it will be a splendid bazaar and she really
wanted to go but she had to retreat that week in her
The boy told her if he go to Araby, he would buy her
something. The boy was not only exited to go to Araby
but he can’t wait for it. He wishes that time flies fast
(I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life...).
The boy also reminded his uncle that he wished to go to
He waited for his uncle to come home for some money.
He waited so long and become restless for his uncle to
come back home. (Wondered whether he will go or
When his uncle finally arrived home, he asked him for
some money for the bazaar but his uncle forgot about it.
His aunt backs him up and forces him to give some
money. He was so happy that he finally can go to
Araby. After an intolerable delay of the train, he arrived
at the bazaar.
When he arrives, he quickly walk around fast because he was afraid
that the stores may be closed.
He soon finds out that “nearly all the stores are closed and the
greater part of the hall was in darkness”.
We see him realize that the bazaar is near over, and how he yet
again missed something he had desperately waited for. (http://
Araby was not what the boy expected (
When he was in one of the stall, the lady of the stall great him
with a rude voice tone. He was not pleased with it because
he was hoping that the people there are going to treat him
He also believed that Araby would be a magical
place(multiculturalism) but to his disappointment, “but he
only experiences something he sees very often in his
hometown of Dublin, Ireland”(
He realised that it was a mistake for not thinking wisely about
going to Araby. He did not plan his trip. He just follows his
heart. At the end, he was embarrassed with himself because
of his silly mistake.
THEMES & ISSUES
This story shows the boy’s endless waiting.
First, he patiently waits for the girl he likes every dayHe waits
for her every morning, watching her through the blinds, and
even follow her in the mornings.
“ the blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that I could
not be seen” (line 36)
“I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. I kept her brown
figure always in my eye and, when we came near the point at which our
ways diverged, I quickened my pace and passed her. This happened
morning after morning” (line 37- 40)
Finally the girl spoke to him, asking whether he will go to Araby or not. She
couldn’t go because of retreat thus he said he will buy something for her if
he does goes. He anxiously waits for the arrival of Saturday - to go to
The day had finally come, he had reminded his uncle in the morning, but
there is no sign of his uncle even when dinner time comes. The boy had
waited for him for so long and when he arrives home his uncle said he
forgot about it and delaying give in giving him the money.
“On Saturday morning, I reminded my uncle that I wished to
go to the bazaar in the evening.” (line 91)
The story started with the boy description of his neighbourhood. He is
frustrated with his surrounding; the place he lives. He is not happy except
for one thing, Mangan’s sister. The only thing that makes his life livelier is his
thoughts and his romantic imagination about spending time with her.
Frustration also by how the boy had a crush towards Mangan’s sister but
he had no chance of showing it to her. The moment the girl said he
couldn’t go to the bazaar, he told her that he will buy something for her if
he go to the bazaar. He is overwhelmed with the idea of giving her
something nice from ‘Araby’. He waited for all day before he could finally
go to the bazaar. He was frustrated that his uncle was late and he had
forgotten about him wanted to go to the bazaar.
GradeSaver; Dubliners Study Guide
“he asked me where I was going and, when I had told him a second
time he asked me did I know The Arab’s Farewell to his Steed. “ (line
He arrived too late where most of the stalls had closed and he in the end
couldn’t buy anything for Mangan’s sister for that he arrived late and also
he doesn’t even have enough money to do so.
“gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and
derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger”
This story mainly focuses on love that the boy had on his friend’s sister. He
described his neighbourhood as gloomy, dull and he find no excitement
there. However, Mangan’s sister is what makes him happy, and what makes
his “heart leap” (P4, line 36).
This implies that she is what makes him happy. The boy is physically
attracted to Mangan’s sister as he had actually never spoken to her and
does not know what kind of person she is. He is admiring her towards from a
distance. The first time she spoke to him, he couldn’t even remember what
he answer he had given her. At this time he is emotionally cling to her every
“ I forgot whether I answered yes or no” (line 66)
Shayes Says; Analysis of of “Araby” by James Joyce
It shown when she mentioned that he should go, he immediately says he
will buy something nice for her if he go to the bazaar.
“What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and sleeping
thoughts after that evening! I wished to annihilate the tedious
intervening days” ( line79)
He couldn’t wait for Saturday to arrive. He wants to skip over every day,
and arrive at Saturday already. Though Saturday finally come, he still had
to wait for a very long time before he could finally go to the bazaar. He
tried his best to go to ‘Araby’ but still disappointed embraces him as he
arrived way too late. Most of the stalls are closed and he didn’t have
enough money anyway to buy something for her.
DARK AND BRIGHTNESS
The story is filled with contrast description from the boy. He
was not happy with his neighbourhood and describe those as
dull and dark. This is shown by Joyce uses negative adjectives
to represent the setting.
“The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them,
gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces” (line 4)
However, the contrast is shown whenever the boy describe
about Mangan’s sister.
“ she was waiting for us, her figure defined by the light from the halfopened door” (line 31)
(Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008)
The boy saw Araby as the eastern enchantment.
Symbolizes the dullness and hopelessness of Ireland that has been
dominated by English for centuries
They cant escape, even if the east come to him in the form of
Araby, the British still there too (English men)
The boy ends up buying nothing.
NORTH RICHMOND STREET BEING BLIND.
Blind street means a dead end, this is the place
where James Joyce grew up
Relation to the reality of how the boy lives
THE DEAD PRIEST
The priest is the icon of a good man
When the priest die, it symbolizes the country have
They will always be dominated by The British26
NORTHERN CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
A religious area
The society there are religion
The name is not mentioned in this story
This symbolizes the dream that will
never comes true.
LIGHT FROM WINDOW
The author use light from the window
which is so dim
It symbolizes that there is just a little
hopes for the boy, to the loves he had
for Mangan's sister
READER RESPONSE CRITICISM
The meaning of a literary work is not merely
something put into work by the writer: the
meaning is an interpretation created or
constructed or produced by the reader and the
Araby is the combination of the
empirical facts of the outside world
and the young boy personal
perception of that world.
So, the readers are always in a
constantly journey of discovery for
the meaning in the text
The text provides us with empirical evidence such
as diction, allusion and imagery produces
rhetorical effect and guides our understanding
throughout the story
Unlike Formalism, a reader response criticism of
Araby allows us to see the ultimate meaning of
It is not something that can be pinned down
conclusively, but it is evolving activity of
GradeSaver. Dubliners Study Guide : Summary and Analysis of Araby.
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Shayessays.com (2011). Analysis of "Araby" by James Joyce - Shayes Says.
[online] Retrieved from: http://shayessays.com/2011/12/18/essay-araby- by-james-joyce/
[Accessed: 17 Nov 2013].
Shmoop (2013). Characters in. [online] Retrieved from:
http://www.shmoop.com/dubliners/araby-characters.html [Accessed: 17 Nov 2013].
SparkNotes Editors. (2004). SparkNote on Dubliners. Retrieved November 7,
Google Books. 2013. Theory Into Practice: An Introduction to Literary Criticism. [online]
retrieved from http://books.google.com.my/books?
Markey, T.2010.Literary and Cultural Theory 2010:James
Joyce’s “Araby”:What is the
significance of the English Gentlemen in the Bazaar? retrieved November 17, 2013 from