Araby is a romantic term for the Middle East. The word was popular throughout the 19th century—used to express the romantic view of the
east that had been popular since Napoleon's triumph over Egypt.
This passage is mainly about how James Joyce uses imagery to characterize the protagonist of his short story "Araby." The protagonist of James Joyce's short story "Araby" is depicted through imagery to be a romantic who pays close attention to minute details and always shows a fascination.
This is a first person narrative in which the character‟s limited view
is unreliable due to his naive view of the world. As any other first person narrative, the view given to the reader is limited to the perception of the narrator, in the case of „Araby‟, the young boy who wants to buy
something in the bazaar for Mangan‟s sister. We see through his eyes, “The sight of the streets thronged with buyers and glaring with gas recalled to me the purpose of my journey” and listen through his ears, “I listened to the fall of the coins”. Such perceptions are not necessarily that
of the narrated character but that of the narrator and his take on events as he recalls them.
The detail with which the young boy describes the book drawing room helps to show his proclivity to not looking past face values. Of the damp books, he likes The Memoirs of Vidocq the best of its yellowed leaves. His obsession with Mangan's sister is surprising as he never spoke
to her, simply admired her physical attractiveness from a distance. Although the boy describes the girl's appearances in great detail, "her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side," he knows nothing of her beyond the physical.
With regards to character, the anonymous boy is obviously a round character. The hero is quite innocent with a mixture of passionate love and religious piety, he acts like a chivalrous knight who wants to bring something to his princess. However, he is mocked inexorably by the adult society, because his romance love is smashed by the magnitude discrepancy between the vulgar reality and his holy dream, and his powerlessness and helplessness to change the cold reality and to realize his dream is clearly foreshadowed. Experiencing bitterness and hardship grown-up journey, the boy awakens himself and takes his first step into the adulthood, and transforms himself from dreamful, pure adolescent life to the Dubliners‟ adult one, featured by banality, vulgarity, and numbness.