Where do we find the use of epiphany in "Araby"?

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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The epiphany in James Joyce's short story "Araby" from the collection Dubliners occurs at the very end:

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

Joyce's idea of an epiphany is a moment of sudden enlightenment, a moment in which one sees the world for what it is, or realizes a truth about him or herself.

In this short story, the narrator is filled with romantic notions of buying the perfect gift for Manghan's sister, a gift that will represent his passion for her.  He goes to Araby, a bazaar, as a knight on a quest, hoping to complete his mission.  Throughout the short story, however, the audience sees the dark world of Dublin that the narrator inhabits--we see the poverty of his neighborhood, the stagnation of the adult world, the squalor of the marketplace.  However, the narrator is so caught up in his infatuation that he thinks of little else and is oblivious to the world around him.

It is not until he arrives late to the the bazaar, when everything is shutting down, and he looks at the cheap, overpriced trinkets that he sees himself and his mission for what it is:  a futile attempt to escape the reality of Dublin.

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