In the story of, "Araby" James Joyce concentrated on three main themes that will explain the purpose of the narrative.
The story unfolded on North Richmond Street, which is a street composed of two rows of houses, in a desolated neighborhood.
Critical Reception For many decades Dubliners was considered little more than a slight volume of naturalist fiction evoking the repressed social milieu of turn-of-the-century Dublin. [In the following essay, Turaj finds a parallel between “Araby” and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, maintaining that the two works represent two different stages in Joyce's personal development.] “Araby” is regarded as the story of a boy for whom young love becomes mystical and religious.
When critics began to explore the individual stories in the collection, much attention was focused on the symbolism in “Araby,” particularly the religious imagery and the surrounding of the bazaar. It is partly a story of his initiation into love, and it is partly a story of his conversion from orthodox religion.
Despite the dreary surroundings of "dark muddy lanes" and "ash pits" the boy tried to find evidence of love and beauty in his surroundings.
Throughout the story, the boy went through a variety of changes that will pose as different themes of the story including alienation, transformation, and the meaning of religion (Borey).
SOURCE: “The Question and the Quest: the Story of Mangan's Sister,” in Reading Dubliners Again: A Lacanian Perspective, Syracuse University Press, 1993, pp. [In the following essay, Leonard utilizes the theories of Jacques Lacan to analyze the depiction of Mangan's sister in “Araby.”] SOURCE: “Blind Streets and Seeing Horses: Araby's Dim Glass Revisited,” in Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. Joyce, whose Dubliners stories tend to bear rhetorical titles, makes of “Araby” a... Discusses the ways in which “Araby” is typical of Joyce's oeuvre.
SOURCE: “The Quest of Joyce and O'Connor in ‘Araby’ and ‘The Man of the House,’” in Frank O'Connor: New Perspectives, edited by Robert C. “Araby.” James Joyce's Dubliners: Critical Essays, edited by Clive Hart, pp.
SOURCE: “‘Araby’ and the Writings of James Joyce,” in Antioch Review, Vol. SOURCE: “The First Trinity,” in The Cracked Looking Glass: James Joyce and the Nightmare of History, Susquehanna University Press, 1992, pp. [In the following excerpt, Wachtel views “Araby” as the third story in a trilogy—the other two being “The Sisters” and “An Encounter”—and deems it an important transition to the other stories included in Dubliners.] Although they depict the meanness, entrapment, and blindness of the citizenry, the first two stories of Dubliners are actually about the discovery of those same qualities in the protagonists. [In the following essay, Norris explores stylistic elements of “Araby,” particularly the narrative voice in the story.] Joyce's “Araby” not only draws attention to its conspicuous poetic language: it performatively offers the beauty of its art as compensation to the thematized frustrations of the story. “‘Araby’ and the ‘Extended Simile.’” Twentieth Century Interpretations of Dubliners: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Peter K....
“Araby,” third in the series, is the final example of such self-scrutiny before the... The little boy whose heart is broken by a city “hostile to romance,” transmutes his grief into a romance of language.