Explain how Joyce uses irony to heighten the epiphany in "Araby". Cite examples from the story


When Mangan's sister asks the narrator if he is going to Araby, she calls it "splendid," and the bazaar immediately begins to conjure exotic and romantic images in his head. He says,

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.

He imagines finding a perfect gift for his love, something different and unique that will show her just how much he feels for her. He arrives, seeing the building with "the magical name" of Araby displayed on it. However, when he enters, the silence reminds him of "a church after a service": hardly the exotic and exciting sounds he anticipated. He sees men "counting money on a salver" under a cafe name in lights. He hears the coins clinking together; again, such sounds fail to meet the expectations created by the bazaar's name. Looking at one of the few open stalls, he sees "porcelain vases and flowered tea-sets" and a small group of young English men and one young lady talking and laughing flirtatiously. The magic he imagined is drowned in the ordinary, and the romance he anticipated is smothered by cheap flirtation. Certainly, reality does not answer his expectations, and this irony extends to his epiphany, namely, his recognition that the world does not turn by love and hope—despite his feeling that his love and hope were the most important things in the world.

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