Epiphany as Seen in Incident and Salvation

Epiphany as Seen in Incident and Salvation

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Epiphany as Seen in Incident and Salvation
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For many people, ideas and thoughts change after experiencing
something unexpectedly, and it forces them to except the truth, no
matter how painful it might be. “At any time, the equilibrium of our
lives, the comfortable image of ourselves and the world around us, may
be disrupted suddenly by something new, forcing us into painful
reevaluation. These disruptions create pain, anxiety, and terror by
also wisdom and awareness.” This self-explanatory quote can also be
called an epiphany. Two literary works that support this quote are
Incident” and “Salvation.” This quote has also proven true in my
life when an unexpected death in the family awakened me.

In the short poem “Incident” the main character experiences an
epiphany. The little eight-year-old boy riding around in what he
thought was a “perfect” town was suddenly disrupted by something new,
another little boy around his age responded to his friendly smile by
sticking his tongue out and calling him a “nigger.” This disruption
had created pain, anxiety, and terror for the little boy who states
that “of all the things that happened there, that’s all that I
remember” (165). He gained wisdom and awareness from this experience
that made him see the world and the people in it in a more realistic
way. Not everything out there is good and sweet, especially people.

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That little boy who used the derogatory term for a black person, whom
he saw for no more than one minute, left him disturbed until he came
to the realization that the world can be a cruel place.

“Salvation” is the second piece of literature that proves this quote
to be true. When this boy was told about Jesus and that he would come
to him, he had this idea set in his mind. He never really understood
that when his aunt told him this, she meant that Jesus would not
literally come to him, but that he would see the light. As he stood
there in church watching others get down on their knees and cry, he
wondered why he could not see Jesus. Just to save further trouble, he
lied. As he cried later that night, he came to the realization that
there was no Jesus since he didn’t really come to see him when he
needed help. This is proven in the following statement: “But I was
really crying because I couldn’t bear to tell her that I had lied,
that I had deceived everybody in the church, that I hadn’t seen Jesus,
and that no I didn’t believe there was a Jesus any more, since he
didn’t come to help me”(297). He went through much pain and terror
after realizing that Jesus had not come to save him. This caused him
to believe that there was no Jesus and for him this was his
awakening.

A personal experience of mine that exemplifies this quote is when my
grandmother passed away. My grandmother had lived with us ever since
we were little. She had taken care of my brother and I more than any
of her other nieces and nephews. Always there cooking food for us
while our mom was at work and encouraging us to practice and hold onto
our religion. I always took her for granted. I never listened to
her, talked back, and sometimes even wished that she would go away
somewhere. For some reason I felt like she was always going to be
there for us. Then one summer she decided to go to Pakistan to
visit. My dad didn’t want her to go because of the horrendous heat
that many people died from. But she insisted and before we knew it
she had her luggage ready and set to go. I was never really close to
her so it didn’t really occur to me that once she walked through that
door that she would never be walking back in again. When we all heard
about her death we all cried. Yet those tears where there only
because it just seemed right to do at the moment. It took me a while
to except the fact that she was gone and when I did, that’s when the
real tears came streaming down my face. Her death has caused much
pain, but along with that pain I have gained wisdom. You don’t
realize how much something means to you till it’s gone. I realized
that death is something that is not planned and can occur at any
moment. She always used to tell us that because she wanted us to keep
up with our religion instead of waiting till it’s too late. I wish I
had a chance to ask her for forgiveness for all the pain that I caused
her and take away everything bad I said about her. But I can’t do
that now because it’s too late. You can’t bring back what you have
lost. So I try to keep what I have before I lose anything that
precious again. I respect elders now and do what I am told. I keep
up with my prayers daily and try to do as much as I can of what she
has told me to do. I am a different person now looking at the world
in a whole different way. Everything does happen for a reason, and
for this situation the reason was me.

An epiphany hits many people at different parts of there lives, it
could either be in a hurtful and painful way or something that hits
them in such a way that it reveals a whole new view and aspect on
life. The experiences that I had and what the little 8 year old boy
had were different but alike in many ways. He experienced first hand
the raw essence of racism I had experienced a heart shattering loss
that I would not have realized till long after a death of someone who
I completely neglected to cherish this person who I would miss so
dearly. Both of our experiences were heartbreaking but both of our
experiences taught us something new; something that we would hold
close to our hearts for the rest of our lives, a something called
reality.
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