Araby

The protagonist of the story, a young, imaginative boy who lives with his aunt and uncle. The narrator attends a Catholic school (as does essentially every other school age child in Ireland), and is surrounded more generally by the Catholic Irish world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he thinks about and sees the world in religious terms and imagery. When the narrator develops a powerful crush on Mangan’s sister, the older sister of his friend Mangan, he begins to lose interest in his former activities, such as playing with his friends or his schoolwork. The narrator experiences his crush in religious terms, stating his love for her to himself as a kind of prayer, and at the same time his love for her seems to offer an escape from an Irish world that feels drab and oppressive to the narrator. When Mangan’s sister expresses interest in the Araby bazaar, that too comes to represent an exotic escape to the narrator, and he seeks to buy a gift at the bazaar to win her favor. Ultimately, though, the narrator’s experience at the bazaar reveal to him the falseness of his fantasies and an epiphany about his own vanity, and so his religious sense, romantic ideas, and budding sexuality all become tied up in an anguishing recognition of the disappointments of one’s own self, of growing up, and of the world. It is also worth noting that the narrator of the story is actually a grown man, reflecting back on his childhood. For all intensive purposes the narrator and the protagonist are both the same character, although the reader never really knows how the protagonist is feeling at the time when the story takes place, only how the adult-version of the protagonist remembers thinking or feeling.

The narrator Quotes in Araby

The Araby quotes below are all either spoken by The narrator or refer to The narrator. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Araby published in 1993.
Araby Quotes

North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers’ School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbors in a square ground.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker)
Related Symbols: Blindness
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance. … We walked through the flaring streets, jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses of labourers, the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by the barrels of pigs’ cheeks, the nasal chanting of street-singers, who sang a come-all-you about O’Donovan Rossa, or a ballad about the troubles in our native land.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Mangan’s Sister
Page Number: 22-23
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

These noises converged in a single sensation of life for me: I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Mangan’s Sister
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The light from the lamp opposite our door caught the white curve of her neck, lit up her hair that rested there and, falling, lit up the hand upon the railing. It fell over one side of her dress and caught the white border of a petticoat, just visible as she stood at ease.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Mangan’s Sister
Related Symbols: Light and Darkness
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proid

The syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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I watched my master’s face pass from amiability to sternness; he hoped I was not beginning to idle. … I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.LoremLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolorLorem Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adi

From the front window I saw my companions playing below in the street. Their cries reached me weakened and indistinct and, leaning my forehead against the cool glass, I looked over at the dark house where she lived.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Mangan’s Sister
Related Symbols: Light and Darkness
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in

Remembering with difficulty why I had come I went over to one of the stalls and examined porcelain vases and flowered tea sets. At the door of the stall a young lady was talking and laughing with two young gentlemen. I remarked their English accents and listened vaguely to their conversation.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Young female shopkeeper
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Observing me the young lady came over and asked me did I wish to buy anything. The tone of her voice was not encouraging; she seemed to have spoken to me out of a sense of duty. I looked humbly at the great jars that stood like eastern guards at either side of the dark entrance to the stall…

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Young female shopkeeper
Related Symbols: Light and Darkness
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker)
Related Symbols: Light and Darkness
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The narrator Character Timeline in Araby

The timeline below shows where the character The narrator appears in Araby. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Araby
Religion and Catholicism Theme Icon
The former tenant of this, the narrator ’s house, was a priest who died in the back drawing room, but left some... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...the houses – is now illuminated with light from the kitchen windows. When they see the narrator ’s uncle coming home, they hide from him in the shadows. (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Every night Mangan’s sister comes outside to call him inside for tea. Mangan, one of the narrator ’s friends, usually teases her while the narrator looks on. The narrator begins to notice... (full context)
Religion and Catholicism Theme Icon
Escapism and the Exotic Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
The narrator begins to fantasize about Mangan’s sister constantly—even as he walks through the noisy, dirty Dublin... (full context)
Religion and Catholicism Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
One rainy night, the narrator goes into the back drawing room where the priest died and lets his emotions take... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Escapism and the Exotic Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
When Mangan’s sister finally speaks to the narrator , it is to ask if he is planning to go to the Araby bazaar.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Escapism and the Exotic Theme Icon
The narrator now begins to fantasize not only about Mangan’s sister, but about the Araby bazaar as... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Escapism and the Exotic Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
On Saturday morning, the narrator reminds his uncle that he wishes to attend the Araby bazaar that night. He leaves... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
When the narrator goes back downstairs, Mrs. Mercer, the pawnbroker’s widow, is there. They wait for the narrator’s... (full context)
Religion and Catholicism Theme Icon
Escapism and the Exotic Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
The narrator walks to the train station and boards the empty third-class section of the train. After... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Escapism and the Exotic Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
The shopkeeper asks the narrator if he’s going to buy anything, but seems to only be asking because it is... (full context)