The moment when an answer to a question from three weeks ago is suddenly realized is known as an epiphany--a sudden understanding of the nature to an idea or quandary, usually attained through something simple and, sometimes, unassociated (“Epiphany”). Authors often use this device not only to convey a realization on the part of their character, but also to allude to an internal message (“Epiphany”). James Joyce employed this device in many of his works in hopes of revealing to his Irish peers the low esteem of their conduct (Bulson 33).
James Joyce was born in Ireland to a borderline destitute/middle-class family. After his graduation from the University College, he moved to Paris to study medicine only to be called back to Dublin to care for his mother during her last days (O’Conner). He remained in his home country for a year, publishing short stories in “The Irish Homestead” newspaper (O’Conner). Joyce was a failure at many different occupations: teaching, journalism, and accounting; however, he is one of the few authors to have known success in his own lifetime (Bulson 17). Living in the 1910s era, which found pride in formal diction and savvy language, Joyce found many publishers were wary of his work, which pushed the social limits with bitter language and brash subjects (Bulson 18). Bulson quotes Joyce’s argument with publishers as he refused to grant their wishes of revision, “I seriously believe that you will retard the course of civilization in Ireland by preventing the Irish people from having one good look at themselves in my nicely polished mirror” (33). This was his attitude towards the eventually published collection of short stories, Dubliners, confirming the beginning of modern literature.
Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories written by James Joyce depicting a full array of middle-class Irish characters, from childhood figures to adults in public life (“Dubliners”). “Each story concerns a sudden revelation of truth about life inspired by a seemingly trivial incident” (“Dubliners”).
The third story of Dubliners is “Araby,” starring an unnamed narrator who believes himself to be in love with his friend’s sister, known as Mangan’s sister (Schoenberg 1). Having heard that she is unable to visit the bazaar that will be in town, he promises to bring her a gift from it; however, upon his late arrival, he overhears a flirtatious group and decides to return home without a gift.
“Eveline” is placed in the second section of Dubliners, which explores the adolescence phase (Dubliners). The story has little action as it mostly reviews Eveline’s thoughts (“Eveline”). She must decide whether to accept the proposal of a sailor named Frank or to stay with her ill father and younger siblings (“Eveline”).
The final story of Dubliners is “The Dead.” This story depicts a married couple, Gabriel and Gretta, that attends a party and characterizes the social actions of a man and wife (“Dead”). Gabriel suffers three epiphanies:...