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The portrait of the Artist as a young man is one of the most famous books of Modern literature, and one of the greatest of British literature. The author, James Joyce, was born on February 2, 1882, in the town of Rathgar, near Dublin, Ireland. He was the oldest of ten children born to a modest family. The similarities between his life and that of Stephen Dedalus are striking. Both fathers are unable to support the family, and their mothers are very religious Catholics. Joyce, as well as Stephen, is sent for a period of time to Clongowes Wood College, a prestigious boarding school, and then to Belvedere College, where both discover their inner identity and experience religiousness, love and art. The novel also touches the theme of nationalism, and the political struggle between the Irish Protestants and the Catholics. The novel is very much appreciated because of the technique used, namely the stream of consciousness, showing the inner works of the human mind, and time dislocations. Joyce also uses flashes of perception or understanding which are called by the literary critique µepiphanies¶. James Joyce is, together with Virginia Woolf, the master of the stream of consciousness technique. His major novels: Ulysses, the Dubliners, and The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man all contain various degrees of incursions into the human mind, through modernist aestheticism. The portrait of the artist as a young man is an atypical bildungsroman, in that it shows the transformation of the main character, but it is the transformation of his mind that Joyce is interested in. In the first chapter, the very young Stephen is only capable of describing his world in simple words and phrases. He cannot be very articulate in expressing the sensations that he experiences, just like a child, who cannot make the connection between cause and effect. Later, when he is at school, Stephen becomes a teenager obsessed with religion, and he is able to think in a clearer, more adult manner. Paragraphs are more logically ordered than in the opening sections of the novel, and thoughts follow logically. Stephen's mind is more mature and he is now more coherently aware of his surroundings. However, he is very passionate about his belief in church and in God, in the Catholic religion, and therefore he is not a very rational person yet. Only when he is at university, in the final chapter, does Stephen appear to be truly rational. By the end of the novel, Joyce succeeds to render a portrait of a mind that has achieved not only emotional, but also intellectual and artistic maturity. Another major theme in µThe Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man¶ is religious belief, or ironically enough, the lack of belief. At first, Stephen Dedalus experiences sin: he repeatedly sleeps with prostitutes and
her hair is fair and her face is µmortally beautiful¶. This epiphany is the moment when Stephen realizes he does not want to be a sinner anymore. not necessarily in religion. As he sits peaceful. Just like fairies. as he waits impatiently for the University entrance examination results. who called his early experimentations with short prose passages ³epiphanies´. Stephen Dedalus. is fascinated by the girl¶s gracefulness and innocence. Gabriel. in the concluding paragraphs. Such moments of insight appear frequently in Joyce¶s short stories. realized the forces which make a compass move.ignores Christian values. Epiphanies have also appeared in other areas. This can be called his lack of belief. In Christianity. and celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany on the 6th of January. he perceives her inner beauty as well as her outer beauty. So his path is changed. which means "I have found it!". the major character in the story. judging by the way in which he describes her and the comparisons he uses. Western churches generally celebrate the Adoration of the Magi as the Incarnation of the infant Christ.³The Dead´. the most notable epiphany is the one when Stephen Dedalus. The changing point is the speech held by Father Arnall: one of Stephen¶s epiphanies. and finally. Generally speaking. as a teenager. we may as well consider that he is on his way to fall in love with this girl. There are examples of sudden comprehension in technology and the sciences. has µmet¶ sexuality with a prostitute. the Dubliners. and therefore did not understand or appreciate love. in the general morals of humankind. Other examples of famous epiphanies are the moments when. The last short story in The Dubliners. from that of a sinner. a moment when he shouted the well-known "Eureka!". the Epiphany refers to the realization that Christ is the son of God. In literature the term was first applied by James Joyce. blindly following religious doctrine. to that of a devout Catholic. a . The portrait of the girl is close to that of an angel. contemplating this girl¶s looks. or the flash of understanding when Charles Darwin's . aboard the Beagle. epiphany is a term used to refer to the situation when a person realizes their religious faith or when they are convinced that an event was caused by a deity or being of their faith. Albert Einstein. and was sent to a religious type of school as a teenager. An example of a famous epiphany is Archimedes' sudden realization of how to estimate the volume of a given mass. Stepen Dedalus. shows Joyce¶s idea of epiphany. and in romantic relationships. as well as Joyce himself. Traditionally. published in 1914 . as a young child. Joyce compares the girl to a delicate. Eastern churches celebrated Epiphany (or Theophany) in relation with Christ's baptism by John the Baptist and celebrated it on the 19th. At the moment of this epiphany. In the portrait of the artist as a young man. Stephen realizes what a woman¶s essence really is. was born to a religious Catholic family. because the life of a priest is far too harsh and it requires abstinence from a great deal of things. understood the principle of natural selection and origins of the species. he understands the nature of love. Protestant churches often celebrate Epiphany as a season. lying beside his wife has a sudden realization of real love. white sea bird. and later he realizes that he does not want to join the clergy either. Her silhouette appears slim and soft like a white feathered dove.
sometimes sweet and tender like a waltz. Joyce¶s words flow easily and uninterruptedly. just like in his poem. Stephen. the person who is admiring her. in that it approaches big themes like religion. each part of the body described constitutes itself exactly like a stanza. and exactly like he had intended. from revolt against political order. like a real poet. however.sparknotes. and it contains a wide range of human feelings. At the end of the description. online full text rahoon/ 5. and his words are filled with expectation and lovers¶ impatience.com/poem/she-weeps-over- . The portrait of the artist as a young man is a complete novel. like a fast and tumultuous river. She weeps over Rahoon. the author turns to a darker comparison ³mortal beauty´.com/james_joyce/portrait_artist_young_man/ 2. The portrait of the artist as a young man.com/lit/portraitartist/ 4. time disruptions. meant to stress a particular characteristic.poemhunter.org/wiki/A_Portrait_of_the_Artist_as_a_Young_Man 3.dove ( a comparison that reminds us of Shakespeare). µsadly calling¶. In She weeps over Rahoon.html http://www. like a tango. he managed to keep the literary critique busy for years and years to go. online full text- http://www.wikipedia. he can be gentle and sweet.online- literature. to obeying rules and to adhering to art codes. is not innocent in what love is concerned. such as lines and verses. and other times fast and bold. Joyce¶s literary style is ever changing. slight and soft as the breast of some dark plumaged dove¶ are like a leitmotif. in accordance with the feelings experienced by the one who has lost her lover to death. and other times. Bibliography 1. About epiphanies http://theliterarylink. ³softly falling´. when the tone is dark and sad. he uses the stream of consciousness. Sometimes. love and art. and the repetitions µher bosom was as a bird¶s soft and slight. http://en. backshifting. His style is original. Indeed. She weeps over Rahoon. and the lover¶s voice.com/joyce. Although Joyce does not use the delimitations of poetry. http://www. making this passage seem more like a poem than a piece of prose. His style is overall unpredictable. the leitmotifs that appear throughout the poem are rain.
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