There are many similarities between A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners, most notably in regards to Stephen Dedalus and the young narrator of “Araby” and their perspectives on young women. In “Araby,” the narrator is beginning to mature and experience sexual desire, becoming fixated on the sister of a friend. She filled him with “confused adoration” (23) and provoked a nearly manic energy from the narrator.
A similar fixation and energy can be found on pages 164-165 in Portrait when Stephen Dedalus notices a girl standing alone midstream. Though this is not the first girl to catch his attention, he observes every detail of her appearance and demeanor. After she meets his gaze, his soul experiences “an outburst of profane joy” (165) echoing the perspective of the young narrator of “Araby.” He sets off on a walking excursion with no destination, thinking about the girl and equating her to an angel (165). This kind of attention and idolization is consistent with the dynamic in “Araby.” In both instances, the females are portrayed as angelic or nearly angelic.