Why Epiphany is Different in The Necklace, Moonlight and in the Lady with the Little Dog

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Epiphany is different in these three stories. In each story, the realization that dawns upon each character is different in structure and how it reflects the story.

In “The Necklace” epiphany occurs at the end of the story, and unlike the other two it does not occur in the main character, Mathilde, it occurs in Madame Forestier. Towards the end, after Mathilde and her husband have been working themselves to the bone in order to pay off the 36,000 francs necklace, she encounters Madame Forestier. During their meeting, Mathilde reveals she originally los the necklace and paid off a very expensive replica. To this, Madame Forestier is shocked and has the epiphany that she had been wearing an expensive necklace when the one originally lost was indeed not that. “ Madame Forestier stopped in her tracks: 'Are you telling me you bought a diamond necklace to replace mine?', of course. And you didn't spot the difference, did you? It was a perfect match, wasn't it?' She was smiling with innocent pride. Madame Forestier, clearly appalled, took her friend's two hands in her own: 'Oh my poor Mathilde!' she said. ' Mine wasn't real! It was worth 500 francs at the most! ... '” Madame Forestier’s realization that her friend had been working non stop for years on end to replace her fake necklace with a real one was seen when she “stopped in her tracks” and held Mathilde’s hands and revealed to her the truth. In my opinion, Forestier’s epiphany was underwhelming seeing as there is a large price difference in her fake necklace to the real one her friend paid off and the only clear indication of worriment the reader gets is that she looked “clearly appalled”. The epiphany was made less of a deal than Mathilde’s overaction of how she had nothing to wear to the Ministry of Education. Although underwhelming, I believe that the epiphany was fitting to the story. In a way, it was ironic and irresponsible like the loss of the necklace in the first place. Mathilde lost the necklace that she assumed to be valuable, one would assume that since she had this preconception she would have been more careful with it, but she was not. This same attitude was paralleled in the Epiphany with Forestier’s reaction to her cheap necklace replica being replaced with the real thing.

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In “Moonlight” epiphany occurs at the end as well, when the priest caught is niece and her significant other at the edge of the river at nighttime. The priest had a very specific attitude about women the entire book, he believed women were only created to tempt men. He was determined that his niece become a nun. Obviously he was angered when his wife informed him that she meets with a boy by the river at night. After discovering that his niece meets with the “husband she had chosen herself” at night without anyone’s knowledge, he grew angry and set out to see it with his own eyes. Once he arrived at the site, he was automatically in awe of the beautiful site. He was even “touched to the depths of his soul” by the site in front of him. He began to question why this beautiful scene was created by God. Without an answer, he looked into the distance and his niece appeared with the boy. This is when he had the epiphany. “As he stood there stunned and with his heart pounding, the sight before him seemed almost Biblical, like the love of Ruth and Boaz, an expression of God's will set in one of the great scenes of holy writ… And he said to himself, 'Perhaps God has created this sort of night in order to imbue the love of man with something of the ideal.' He retreated as the two, entwined, approached ever closer. And though she was his niece he now wondered whether he could disobey the will of God. How could God disapprove of love since he surrounded it with such obvious splendour?” I included the first portion of the second to last paragraph as well as the entire last paragraph seeing as I believe those perfectly describe his epiphany. The priest comes to the realization that the beautiful sight before him was created by God to embody his niece and her significant other’s love. His epiphany was that a love so beautiful and pure deserves to thrive and that he should let it be instead of what I assume to be his original plan, to end it. I highly enjoyed the epiphany in this story. I believe it is very fitting. The priest going from being dead set on his niece becoming a nun, to being angry she’s found love, then being enthralled by the purity of her love once he finally witnesses it is beautiful. It is fitting to the story in the way it happened, he interpreted the love as created by God, using that as a motive to be acceptive of it seeing as if God created it, he couldn’t disapprove. The religious take on this story was beautiful, and the way that the epiphany was written was also beautiful and the change in the priest attitude was extremely heartwarming.

The epiphany in “The Lady with the Little Dog” is also at the end of the short story. After Dmitri Dmitrich Gurov and Anna Sergeevna meet in Yalta and become acquainted, they begin to continuously spend time together. Anna leaves Yalta and Dimitri cant forget about her and goes looking for her in her hometown. They then begin to meet every two to three months in Moscow. At the end of the story, when Anna comes to Dimitri in tears, he hugs her and catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. This is when he has his epiphany, that he is in love for the first time. “and at that moment he saw himself in the mirror… Time passed, he met women, became intimate, parted, but not once did he love; there was anything else, but not love. And only now, when his head was gray, had he really fallen in love as one ought to-for the first time in his life.”Dimitri’s epiphany comes to him very late due to his thoughts prior to Anna. He believed women were the “inferior race” and was even unfaithful to his wife on multiple accounts. His disdain for women was changed by him falling in love with Anna. I consider his epiphany to be ironic for these reasons. His epiphany that he is in love with Anna, meaning he was in love for the first time is, for lack of better words, cheesy, but fitting. This short story was about the two’s inability to be together due to their marriages yet being so infatuated with each other they had to go around it all. Dimitri’s epiphany is exactly what a reader would expect when reading this book.  

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