Epiphanies and Their Importance in Stories Epiphany; the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger)essence or meaning of something. Epiphanies, I think, appear in almost every story. They may not be the main focus of the writer or maybe not even what the writer intended to happen, but they appear in some form or another in every story. Even classic love cliches, usually a women is in love with a man and the man barely notices she exists, she goes on some adventure and meets a guy that she doesn’t take interest in at first, and eventually realizes that she doesn’t really love the first guy but instead has fallen for the new guy.
Her epiphany is the realization that she loves the new guy that she never expected to fall for. In “Battle Royal”, the epiphany is at the very beginning of the story, and is not really apart of the story. He describes asking everyone the questions only he could answer, looking everywhere to figure out who he is, only to realize that he can only be himself. I think that is an epiphany because through out the story he is tying to be something he is not. He is trying to please the white men, to be something they approved of, to “not stir the pot”.
It takes years and college for him to come to the epiphany about what his dream means, who he really is, and that him, and only him, could answer his questions about himself. In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, at the very end of the book, Harry realizes that the plan was always for him to die. That he has gone on this entire hero’s journey, just to face and accept his death. In fact, I would say that at least one large epiphany appeared in every book. In the very first book(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 309) the most obvious epiphany is that he is a wizard, a famous wizard.
In the fifth(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 896), Harry Potter finally realizes what how powerful love is, albeit he still has conflicts with that idea of magic in the latter stories and has more then one epiphany on that matter. The epiphanies in the Harry Potter series range from love to death, but all of them are crucial to the story and to his hero journey. Although, through out the story there are subtle, or obvious, foreshadowing as to some of the major twists in the stories, the epiphanies Harry Potter experiences also confirm or explain some of the major plot ideas for the readers
As I mentioned while talking about the epiphanies in Harry Potter, epiphanies can be a great literary tool to explain/show some the major plot ideas. Now this can be in third person; “Harry understood at last that he was not supposed to survive. ”(Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 691) or in first person; “It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to be born with: That I am nobody but myself. ”(Battle Royal, 294) It is a useful tool for the author to get a certain point across.
Instead of hoping your reader picks up on the moral or meaning of a story, you can strategically use an epiphany to spell it out. It is also very powerful, like with the Harry Potter quote, many had already realized even before the 7th book came out that Harry was going to die, even the seen/chapter before that quote explained that he must, hearing it come from Harry Potter made it more real. It made me go “whoa”, not only did it confirm what I believed but it humanized him. It made it stick out, made me, and many other readers, emotional. In “The Red Convertible”, the epiphany is not with the main character Lyman, but with his brother Henry.
The epiphany I saw, was Henry realizing or assuming that he cannot live in this world anymore. He spends days fixing the convertible, which I see as a symbol for Henry fixing himself, and after that fails, he looses his will to live. Although he appears “fixed” for a very brief time, he goes into the river an commits suicide. The epiphany I am talking about comes from the fact that I think he doesn’t consciously realize he is committing suicide, that its not until he says “My boots are filling”(The Red Convertible, 312), that he realizes he is committing suicide and that is his epiphany.
In “Araby”, the epiphanies are more widely talked about but still very important to the story. The more obvious epiphany in the short story is regarding his love life, that his love interest will never return his feeling. But as you go deeper you realize that that is only a minor one in the story. The real epiphany is the loss of faith in the church. Through out the story subtle hints are placed in the story to show how the church has become corrupt and instead of being all about worship and feeling closer to god, it becomes about money and greed
Bibliography Ellison, Ralph. Battle Royal. Eigth Edition of The Story and It’s Writer. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999. 294-304. Print. Rowling, J, K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 1st ed. New York, N. Y. : Aurthur A. Levine Books, 2007. 759. Print Erdrich, Louise. The Red Convertible. 8th ed. of The Story and it’s Writer. Boston, M. A. : Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999. 305-312. Print. Joyce, James. Araby. 8th ed. of The Story and it. Boston, M. A. : Bedford/St. Martin, 1999. 430-434. Print