James Joyce's The Dubliners Essay

507 words - 2 pages

"Epiphany" refers to a showing-forth, a manifestation. For Joyce, however, it means a sudden revelation of the ¡°whatness of a thing¡±. Joyce's tales about Dublin portray impotence, frustration and death. Their meaning is provided not so much by plot but by the epiphanies. Aiming either to illustrate an instant of self-realization in the characters themselves, or to raise the trivial existence of his characters to a level of conscious significance for the reader. The figures inside the story whom are rapped by their environment are shown the truth about their lives, whereas readers are shown the whole process which, in its turn, becomes an epiphany for them.
In An Encounter, the epiphany is an unwelcome one; the boy felt sudden guilt when he called Mahoney. ¡°I was penitent; for in my heart I had always despised him a little.¡± He realized he did not entirely mind the old man's talk about whipping Mahoney¡ªsomething in it pleased him, just as, in a different way, it must have pleased the old man. The old man symbolizes a person who had spent quite a few years as an adult in the real world. He is the symbol of what could happen to the young, not-any-more-so-innocent boy. This story is about the initial steps a young schoolboy takes towards adulthood. He has not yet across the threshold as he will in Araby, he is still fantasizing about it. However, his epiphany awakens him to apprehend his nature directly, and it opened his eyes to the adult world; he is now afraid of the way ahead being...

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