“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 Mahoneysomething 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 Gabriels unreal existence. He pities himself for lacking love entirely without realizing it. The sentence “the time had come for him to set out on his journey westward” seems to indicate his awareness of his new responsibility. He penetrates the darkness and discovers his image in the mirror.
Gabriel now realizes that he must begin his self-discovery. He reviews his inner self from a new perspective. Therefore, he is ready to accept, to give and participate. The snow falling upon all the living and the dead covers the past, and promises renewal. In conclusion, although the stories in Dubliners find their most strongly binding aspect in the revelation of paralysis to its victimsJoyce talks about the physical phenomenon of hemiplegia(The Sisters) to symbolize a paralysis in his characters that extends into psychological(A Little Cloud), social(Ivy Day In The Committee Room) as well as spiritual(Grace) realmthese stories, in theirs criticism of the state of paralysis, is, by implication, a defense of active and fulfilling life.Words/ Pages : 506 / 24