Epiphany In Short Stories

Decent Essays

“A&P” by John Updike and “I Want to Know Why” by Sherwood Anderson are both fictional short stories in which there are epiphanies of the main characters that change their lives in a negative way. The epiphany presented in “A&P” is more abrupt and lacks information about the main character’s life following his decisions while the epiphany presented in “I Want to Know Why” is more drawn out with a more meaningful follow-up on the narrator’s life. Figurative language, a heavily used literary tool, is utilized in abundance in both short stories, and both Anderson and Updike’s stories use it to emphasize the epiphanies of the main characters. After reading the short stories “A&P” and “I Want to Know Why,” Anderson’s story had a more meaningful epiphany and a stronger use of literary devices such as tone shifts, stream of consciousness, and symbolism through the use of figurative language. The first literary technique that is utilized to provide a stronger and more meaningful epiphany in “I Want to Know Why” is the noticeable tone shift in the story prior to the epiphany to after the moment of realization. The tone of Anderson’s story is blithe and enthralling, giving the reader the feeling that the narrator enjoyed going to the horse races, sneaking out and journeying long distances just to see them. The story describes the senses that the narrator experiences and how exciting the entire experience always is to him, as the narrator states that, “Every thing smells lovely.

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