Epiphany

[hi-pif-uh-nee]

I am often astounded how connections are made through the universe. When I posted my blog about James Joyce a couple of days ago, I did not have a clear picture of where it was going to lead.

If you have followed the subsequent thread, you may be musing how Enid Blyton came to be the next topic. Was it inspired by the binary nature of our lives: yin and yang, light and shade, black and white or specifically in this instance, literary versus popular?

Possibly. Maybe this is how the universe works: juxtaposition, enabling opportunity for learning and enlightenment through contrasts.

Now while this following disclosure is not strictly literary or related to books, it is a fitting example of how we shouldn’t discount any opportunity for learning and growth.

Since my Joyce blog, I have had the concept of this literary device ‘epiphany’ rolling around in my being, enchanting me.

My twelve year old and I sat down to watch an episode of Bones last night. For those not familiar, Dr Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist with eccentricities and attachments to things other than living humans and who helps the FBI solve murder cases. The victim in this case displayed many similarities to Dr Brennan and this caused an epiphany for ‘Bones’ to see how her life was unfolding, what the future was likely to hold and importantly what she was withholding herself from.

I was deeply engaged with this life-changing moment for this character, felt the significance and thought I should share with my son. The question to my twelve year old was, ‘Do you know what an epiphany is?’

His reply, ‘Yes, Homer had one in The Simpson’s Movie.’

What! This literary device belongs to the cerebral world of literature not some animated TV sitcom!

I laughed out loud.

A superficial check into the genesis of this word reveals that it originally referred to insight through the divine. Today, this concept is used much more often and without such supernatural connotations.

It is claimed that the word’s secular usage may owe some of its popularity to James Joyce, who, as we know, used the device in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and also within each short story of his collection Dubliners as his protagonists came to sudden recognitions that changed their view of themselves or their social condition and often sparking a reversal or change of heart.

So not only are these revered literary characters experiencing epiphanies, so too are Dr Temperance Brennan and Homer Simpson! In fact it seems Homer has had more than one epiphany thanks to interaction with the Inuit Medicine Woman (a.k.a. the ‘boob lady’ as described by Homer).

So, back to the debate about Enid Blyton’s books that painted an idyllic vision of rural England.

Enid Blyton is still the world’s most prolific storyteller for children. Her books are about children in jeopardy, children empowered, children winning through and I again contend that the insights available to young readers and the reading habit formed should not be overlooked.

I am in deep admiration of this literary device, epiphany and the many possible sources of this life-changing revelation.

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