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Most importantly, comparing the themes of both epiphanies reveals they can simultaneously be similar and different. An important common theme in both epiphanies is facing reality. In Araby, the protagonist realizes “[his] stay was useless” (Joyce 6) since the young lady only “spok[e] to [him] out of a sense of duty” (Joyce 6). Likewise, in The Flash, the protagonist realizes he “accepted everything: traffic lights, cars, posters, uniforms, monuments, things completely detached from any sense of the world, accepted them as if there some necessity, some chain of cause and effect that bound them together” (Calvino 1). Both characters face the reality and randomness of the world. Even so, each epiphany implies each protagonist faces a different sort of reality. The protagonist of Araby faces the reality of love and “[sees himself] as a creature driven and derived by vanity” (Joyce 6). On the other hand, the protagonist of The Flash faces the reality of existence and hopes “[he] shall grasp that other knowledge” (Calvino 2). Therefore, reviewing the theme similar to both epiphanies leads to discovering different themes as well.
Conversely, looking at the differences in the symbolism of each epiphany hints at a comparable aspect of symbolism.
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Indeed, the similarity between each epiphany’s settings is that they both originate from a time during the World Wars. Additionally, each epiphany indicates an era of rage and suffering. For example, in Araby, the protagonist is in a setting which causes “[his] eyes [to burn] with anguish and anger. Moreover, in The Flash, the protagonist annoys the crowd and “ma[kes] off amid their angry glares” (Calvino 1). Even though the times of both epiphanies are similar, it is obvious they occur in two completely different wars. This indirectly suggests the locations of each epiphany are different. The epiphany in Araby occurs in “the bazaar” (Joyce 5), whereas the epiphany in The Flash occurs “at a crossroads” (Calvino 1). Unlike theme and symbolism, the relationship between the similarities and differences of each epiphany’s setting is not as obvious.
The comparison of the theme, symbolism and setting of the epiphanies in Araby and The Flash indicates the direct relationship between their similarities and differences. To repeat, both epiphanies begin with a major common them of facing reality and then branch off to separate sub-themes. On the contrary, both epiphanies’ diverse symbolisms form a connection to provide an analogous symbol of an evil world. Afterwards, the symbolism allows the piecing together of the unforeseen relationship between the two epiphany’s settings. Thus, the trail of comparisons leads back to World War I and World War II. Just as the two different short stories link together, do the two wars ultimately link to each other in terms of action, thought and outcome?