View The Romance of Araby in a larger map
What I found stood out most when I mapped Araby was the extreme smallness of his home neighborhood, when compared to the great distance he travels on his quest of romanticism. I started out very small--marking a tentative house for the boy, one across the street for the girl, the route to his school where he followed her every day... and then turned to searching for the train station. I was immediately struck by just how small a space he inhabits to start with.
Araby, of course, is commonly typed as a coming-of-age story, and this spacial sense of the story emphasizes this point even more clearly. Another common literary and philosophical trope arises as a result--that of the female as the civilizing, maturing factor for the male. Seen as far back as the Gilgamesh epic, where the woman Shamhat is presented as the civilizing influence who brings Enkidu out of the wilderness and makes him into a man, this idea of the woman's role is a critical one in literary tradition, one that I missed when I first read through Araby.
Mapping actually highlights this idea, by pulling the reader back far enough to recognize the incredible distance he travels in the name of the romantic quest, which of course results in his disillusionment and awakening to the real world. The girl, in this light, becomes a far more interesting, powerful character, one who is intimately involved with the process of his maturation, even if she is not actually sexually involved.