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Epiphany in James Joyce's Dubliners

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Introduction

Running head: EPIPHANY IN JOYCE’S DUBLINERS 1 The Phenomenon of Epiphany in Selected Stories of James Joyce’s Dubliners Iveta Gustová University of West Bohemia Author Note Iveta Gustová, Department of English, Faculty of Education, University of West Bohemia Contact: iveta.gustova@gmail.com EPIPHANY IN JOYCE’S DUBLINERS 2 The Phenomenon of Epiphany in Selected Stories of James Joyce’s Dubliners The essay deals with the phenomenon of epiphany as a very interesting and unique literary device. It is not very common, though. Epiphany has a close relation to philosophy and psychology. The roots can be found in Christian religion, where “epiphany refers to the realization that Christ is the son of God” (Wikipedia, 2012). In literature it can be understood as a moment of sudden realisation of the truth, a moment of insight when the characters are stuck for a while. James Joyce uses this phenomenon throughout his short-story collection Dubliners. Joyce is an Irish writer and poet, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He was a key author in the development of the modernist novel. His major works include a novel Ulysses published in 1922 and a short-story collection Dubliners published in 1914 (Wikipedia, 2012). ...read more.

Middle

25), a symbol of God?s love always present to each of us. It used to be a typical decoration of an Irish home at that time (Wikipedia, 2012). On one hand she fears her father, she is unsatisfied with her job and has to take care of two young children but on the other hand she feels the duty of keeping the house together for her dead mother?s sake. The moment of epiphany comes at the end of the story when Eveline stands at the station and waits for the boat. We can read the inner fight in her mind ? escape or not? She also asks God to direct her. Frank speaks to her but she does not listen, she is ?paralysed?. Finally, she decides to stay with her family and rejects to come with Frank. The ending is very emotional and shows how the character prefers to stay in daily routine and fulfil her duties. The second short story chosen for this essay is called ?A Painful Case?. It is also concluded with a moment of epiphany, nevertheless the main character is completely different. ...read more.

Conclusion

Buying of a cake for Halloween?s celebration seems to be a ceremony for Maria. She also plans everything in the smallest detail. When she gets to the Halloween party and finds out, that her plum cake was stolen in the tram ?she nearly cried outright? (Joyce, 2008, p. 83). That is an example that Maria is furious because of small problems. This seems quite sad and the reader might feel sorry for Maria when reading the story. But it got worse when she picked a symbol of ?clay? in a game, which symbolizes an early death. There is little epiphany in this story, EPIPHANY IN JOYCE?S DUBLINERS 5 but strong symbolism in ?clay?? clay in a grave. It could mean that she is stuck in a routine life and it is like she was dead. She is frustrated, in a state somewhere between living and dying (Spark Notes, 2012). The essay was aimed to find examples of epiphany, which occur throughout the whole book. It was very interesting to read it and learn more about the issue. Dubliners have an extraordinary atmosphere that depicts the ordinary middle class life in Dublin in the beginning of the 20th century. ...read more.

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