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LESSON 15 VIRGINIA WOOLF; JAMES JOYCE Reading Assignment: Norton Anthology , pages 1915-1916; 1998-2036. Writing Assignment: The word "epiphany" literally means a showing forth--a revelation. James Joyce used the term in formulating his theory of art. He used "epiphanies" to refer to moments in which things or people revealed their true characters or essences. The epiphany usually comes at the climax of a Joyce story, and there are two types: 1. Some characters suddenly gain insight into their own situations and are thus able to distinguish between appearance and reality. 2. Some characters gain no insight about themselves, but the epiphany reveals to the reader something about the character or his/her situation. (See "Epiphanies and Epicleti," in James
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Joyce, Dubliners , ed. Robert Scholes and A. Walton Litz [New York: The Viking Press, 1969], 253-256.) 1. What sort of epiphany occurs at the end of "The Legacy?" What sort of marriage did Angela and Gilbert Clandon have? In “The Legacy,” Gilbert has an epiphany of the first type: he learns about his own marriage. Gilbert, a prominent and busy politician, learns that his wife, Angela, has had a close friendship with a man named B.M., who is Sissy Miller’s brother. Gilbert discovers B.M. and Angela’s relationship when he reads Angela’s diary. Angela and B.M. like to discuss politics together, and Angela is conflicted over whether or not she should have a relationship with B.M. Gilbert realizes that the reason Angela died is that she committed suicide, just as B.M. did. We can see through this story that Angela and Gilbert’s relationship was not as good as Gilbert thought it was. Gilbert did not pay enough attention to Angela, as indicated on p. 2002, when Gilbert realizes that “He could remember nothing—nothing whatever, nothing except his own speech at the Mansion House dinner.” He was completely unaware of his wife’s possible affair because he was too concentrated on his own life. Angela clearly was lonely in her relationship with Gilbert, as she explains on p. 2000 that she wishes she had a son. She also told Gilbert that “she felt so idle, so useless.” Gilbert jokes with her, asking if she does not have enough to do watching after the house. Clearly, he does not take her seriously. By disregarding her problems, he has harmed his marriage. 2. In a letter to Grant Richards, Joyce stated his purpose for writing his collection of short stories,
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