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How is epiphany used in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man?

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chinmoy | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 17, 2009 at 6:32 PM via web

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How is epiphany used in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 17, 2009 at 7:04 PM (Answer #1)

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The concept of self awareness through revelation, or epiphany, occupies a central importance in Joyce's work.  The notion of self and emergence of consciousness that Stephen undergoes in this bildungsroman only happens through epiphanies, moments where truth is revealed and understanding is truly forged.  These moments, whether they concern Stephen's own sense of self his relationship to the world, help Stephen advance his own identity as well as allowing him to forge his "non- serviam credo."  Epiphanies permit Stephen to advance both his own consciousness as well the narrative structure of the text, as greater understanding is revealed to us in terms of voice as a result of the epiphanies.  Through Joyce's use, Stephen's epiphanies help Stephen better understand himself and help the reader better understand Stephen.

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