"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 dark, full of hypocrisy.
The Dead, which is both the synthesis and the climax of Dubliners, presents a broad epiphany, which absorbs all the smaller epiphanies of the stories that come before. On this night Gabriel comes face to face with his own self, with the past and with the future. The epiphanic moment, which reveals that Gretta has been living a dead life in contrast to the remembered romance of her youth, is a revelation that destroys the bubble of Gabriel¡¯s unreal...
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