In the story "The Rockpile," what do you think Elizabeth's epiphany is?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climactic moment in "The Rockpile" comes when Elizabeth stands up to the Reverend and tells him that if he doesn't begin to pray for himself and begin to change the way he treats Roy (and others), then one day Roy will do something so terrible that the Reverend will then pray that Roy's life had been taken by God on the day his forehead was injured on the rockpile. After this moment, the short story unwinds and concludes.

From the nature and content of the story climax, it seems correct to say that Elizabeth's epiphany is the realization that in truth violence is weakness and that weakness can be faced down and must be directed to that which will remedy the harm it causes. As a result, Elizabeth is able to stand up in front of a violent man and tell him that his weaknesses are going to come back to cause him deep and profound grief unless he changes violent weakness for peaceful and loving strength.

[An epiphany is a moment of spiritual awakening to a profound new understanding of life or self; it is a flash of insight, a moment of spiritual or intellectual enlightenment.]

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The Rockpile

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