A person’s past life is really important because it shapes the individual to be the kind of person he/she will be in the future. No matter how much we try, we can’t rid ourselves of our past nor can we run away from it. It’s embedded in our memories and will always remain to do so. In the short story “Xmas”, by Russell Banks, we meet the protagonist, Gregory Dodd who tries to run away from his past and avoid it. Eventually, the reader will learn what the consequences of such an action can lead to. Through the epiphany that the protagonist, Gregory Dodd, undergoes, Banks illustrates the consequences of avoiding one’s past; the nature of the epiphany is defined by the car collision, and ultimately leads Gregory to a wakeup call and a deeper self-realization, leaving him with some heavy thinking to do about his life. The forces that contribute to intensifying the moment of epiphany are seen in the plot and symbolism.
In his story, Banks makes us meet our main character, Gregory Dodd, who is going through a psychological crisis. After ending his two previous marriages, first in adolescence and second—a fifteen-year-long marriage—in late manhood, he is now dating a woman named Susan who is ten years younger than him. Gregory’s life—as successful and fulfilled as it may seem at first glance, is far from how it is portrayed to be in actuality. On closer inspection, we see that Gregory lives in self-deception. One of his first delusion surfaces when we come across his fear of