Personal Narrative of an Epiphany


Epiphany [ee-pif-ănee]: a sudden realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something. The term epiphany is used in Christian theology for a manifestation of God’s presences in the world (e.g. the Christian holiday called Epiphany, otherwise known as Three Kings Day, celebrates the day God appeared in the form of the baby Jesus to the three wise men). The word was taken over by Irish author James Joyce to denote secular revelation to the everyday world. Joyce defined an epiphany as “a sudden spiritual manifestation” in which the “whatness” of a common object or gesture appears radiant to the observer. Many works of literature, especially short stories, are built around such special moments of sudden insight.


Personal Narrative: a form of writing in which the writer relates an event, incident, or experience from his or her own life. A personal narrative usually

ü  incorporates vivid descriptive details as well as the thoughts, feelings, and reactions of the writer.

ü  has many relevant sensory details (things the reader can hear, see, taste, small, or feel).

ü  focuses on one experience.

ü  uses the first person “I.”

ü  has a clear purpose (shows how the experience affected the writer/why the event was important).

ü  have three parts:

o   a beginning that grabs the reader’s attention, gives background information, and gives the reader a hint about the importance of the event.

o   a middle that tells about important events, describes people and places, and tells the writer’s thoughts and feelings.

o   an ending in which the writer explains the outcome and shows the meaning of the experience/what the writer learned from the experience.


Your assignment is to write a personal narrative about an epiphany you have experienced. You may write about any event or moment in your life in which you had a suddenly realization about the essence, truth, or meaning or something (exceptions: you may not write about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or any other similar character or story—be original and write about something that is unique to you!). Choose something that you remember well and that is meaningful to you.


You first draft should be between two and four pages (typed, double spaced), and is due on ___________________________________________. We will revise this piece of writing over the course of the next week as we continue to analyze the epiphanies of the main characters in the short stories we read in class.