In his short story "Araby", James Joyce portrays a character who strives to achieve a goal and who comes to an epiphany through his failure to accomplish that goal. Written in the first person, "Araby" is about a man recalling an event from his childhood. The narrator's desire to be with the sister of his friend Mangan, leads him on a quest to bring back a gift from the carnival for the girl. It is the quest, the desire to be a knight in shining armor, that sends the narrator to the carnival and it's what he experienced and sees at the carnival that brings him to the realization that some dreams are just not attainable.
Joyce uses the setting of the story to help create a mood and to develop characters and themes throughout the story. "An uninhibited house of two stories stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbors in a square ground." Joyce uses these words: uninhibited, blind and detached not only to describe the narrator's house, but also to describe the narrator himself. The boy lives with his aunt and uncle, not his parents. He lives on a dead end street of a lower class neighborhood. And he is hopelessly in love with his friend's sister. The reader can infer right from the beginning that the narrator is not content with his life.
The blind love that the narrator feels for Mangan's sister leads him to watch her from his window. On one "dark, rainy evening" he watches her and realizes that he can "see so little." Joyce uses this blurriness and lack of vision to represent how unable the narrator is to recognize his distorted view of reality. Even when the narrator is walking through the market with his aunt, walking by such unromantic things as "drunken men and bargaining women" and "barrels of pig's cheeks", he still daydreams about his friend's sister. "Her image accompanied me even in the places most hostile to romance." The narrator's everyday activities were also interrupted by is romantic feelings for his friend's sister. "Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlor watching her door...At night in my bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the page I strove to read." This shows the extent to which the narrator desires to be with Mangan's sister.
During the narrator's first encounter with Mangan's sister, she "turned a sliver bracelet around her wrist." Picturing this bracelet twisting and spinning around the girl's wrist gives the reader a sense that the narrator's emotions too are spinning round and round as he is finally talking to the girl of his dreams. He describes her " silver bracelet", "the white curve of her neck", and the "white border of a petticoat" to give...