Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Epiphany :: Literary Analysis, Joyce and Calvino

World War I and World II are basically the same, right? If so, Araby, written around WWI by James Joyce, and The Flash, written around WWII by Italo Calvino, are also the same, no? Indeed, these short stories have many similarities. At the same time, both stories have many differences. Thus, it is difficult to compare both stories when considering all the details. If the subject of comparison is more specific, such as epiphany, then more emphasis and effort can be put into the comparison. In Araby, the protagonist falls in love with a girl, but love deceives him. In his moment of epiphany, â€Å"[g]azing up into the darkness [he] saw [himself] as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and [his] eyes burned with anguish and anger† (Joyce 1). In The Flash, the protagonist suddenly grasps a reality, but only for an instant: â€Å"[He] stopped, blinked: [He] understood nothing. Nothing, nothing about anything. [He] didn’t understand the reasons for things or f or people, it was all senseless, absurd. And [he] started to laugh† (Calvino 1). The comparison between the epiphanies of both short stories reveals the relationship amongst the similarities and differences regarding theme, symbolism and setting. Most importantly, comparing the themes of both epiphanies reveals they can simultaneously be similar and different. An important common theme in both epiphanies is facing reality. In Araby, the protagonist realizes â€Å"[his] stay was useless† (Joyce 6) since the young lady only â€Å"spok[e] to [him] out of a sense of duty† (Joyce 6). Likewise, in The Flash, the protagonist realizes he â€Å"accepted everything: traffic lights, cars, posters, uniforms, monuments, things completely detached from any sense of the world, accepted them as if there some necessity, some chain of cause and effect that bound them together† (Calvino 1). Both characters face the reality and randomness of the world. Even so, each epiphany implies each protagonist faces a different sort of reality. The protagonist of Araby faces the reality of love and â€Å"[sees himself] as a creature driven and derived by vanity† (Joyce 6). On the other hand, the protagonist of The Flash faces the reality of existence and hopes â€Å"[he] shall grasp that other knowledge† (Calvino 2). Therefore, reviewing the theme similar to both epiphanies leads to discovering different themes as well. Conversely, looking at the differences in the symbolism of each epiphany hints at a comparable aspect of symbolism.

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