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James Joyce

“Araby” narrator

Characters “Araby” narrator

The “Araby” narrator’s experience of love moves him from placid youth to elation to frustrated loneliness as he explores the threshold between childhood and adulthood. Like the narrator of “An Encounter,” he yearns to experience new places and things, but he is also like Eveline and other adult characters who grapple with the conflict between everyday life and the promise of love. He wants to see himself as an adult, so he dismisses his distracting schoolwork as “child’s play” and expresses his intense emotions in dramatic, romantic gestures. However, his inability to actively pursue what he desires traps him in a child’s world. His dilemma suggests the hope of youth stymied by the unavoidable realities of Dublin life. The “Araby” narrator is the last of the first-person narrators in Dubliners, all of whom are young boys.