Re: Dubliners - "A Painful Case" (Story 11 of 15)
There's some critics' razz-ma-tazz out there about Joyce's epiphanies if you care to look for it. The introducer in my Everyman edition goes into it a bit. Just to give an idea, "In Dubliners
an epiphany may be an object correctly apprehended (as the coin at the end of "Two Gallants"), or a vulgarity of speech or of gesture (as the last appearance of Mrs. Kearney in "a Mother), or a memorable phase of the mind itself (as at the end of "A Painful Case" or "The Dead"). In "Araby" a vulgarity of speech triggers an epiphany which is a memorable phase of the mind. Usually the epiphanies which descend upon vulgarity of speech or gesture--and by vulgarity Joyce does not necessarily mean grossness of expression, but that which, even if socially unacceptable in manner, betrays a grossness of mind and feeling--reveal characters of limited sensibility and are experienced by the reader alone (as in "Counterparts," "The Boardinghouse," and "Grace"), whereas those which express a memorable phase of the mind are apprehended both by the reader and by characters of finer sensibility such as Duffy and Gabriel Conroy. But in all cases these epiphanies are moments when the themes of the story find their exact focus, when the implications of the narrative suddenly manifest themselves."
Does this widening of the meaning of 'epiphany' seem to enrich the possibilities of the word, or by making it so all-purpose drain it of usefulness?