Lust and loss of religious beliefs are some of the main points of the second chapter of The Portrait

of the Artist as a Young Man. Stephen is confronted with one of the elements of a boy growing up, lust. Though he is a religious boy, he lets his urges overcome him. Stephen has a hard time understanding why, even though he prays and tries to get God in his life, he still has these feelings of lust. Early on in the chapter, while Stephen¶s father is having a conversation, he brings up Stephen going to talk to Father Dolan about the rector. His father says: ³By the bye, said Mr Dedalus at length, the rector, or provinical, rather, was telling me that story about you and Father Dolan. You¶re an impudent thief, he said «.I told them all at dinner about it and Father Dolan and I and all of us we had a hearty laugh together over it. Ha! Ha! Ha!´ (76). Stephen looks up to his father and hearing his father laugh and joke about Stephen getting hit by the prefect for no reason at all, really confuses Stephen about what is good and just. Stephen had faith in God which transferred to faith that the rector would do something about the prefect beating him but as it turns out, he was just listening to what Stephen said but had no intention on reprimanding the prefect. Seeing that it really was seen as a joke by those close to him, shakes his faith in religion because those were religious figures in Stephen¶s life. Mr. Dedalus, telling Stephen that he is an impudent thief also hurts in the sense that he is telling Stephen not to stick up for himself. Stephen doesn¶t know what to do now and his religious beliefs are slowly starting to crumble. This is what leads Stephen to experiment with his feelings of lust. The lowest point of Stephen¶s religious beliefs are when he decides to give into his sexual desires. At one point, it describes Stephen¶s thoughts as he was on his way to see a prostitute, ³He wandered up and down the dark slimy street peering into the gloom of lanes and doorways, listening eagerly for any sound. He moaned to himself like some baffled prowling beast. He wanted to sin with another of his kind, to force another being to sin with him and to exult with her in sin´ (106).

Stephen knows that what he is doing is a sin. He has chosen not to run, but embrace it and exult a woman in his sin. This shows that Stephen has totally thrown his religion out the window at this point, again, because he has had experiences where the religious figures in his life have not acted in such a just was as religious men should.Stephen is in some ways maturing but leaving his religion behind. Though Stephen still thinks about religion because he uses the word sin, which is deeply associated in religion. Stephen shows that he is intentionally going against religion and in turn his father. When Stephen finally has sex with the woman, it is seen as less sex and more of him having someone that cares about him. Stephen uses this time to find friendship in the form of a prostitute. He feels that the person that he wants to be there for him is not because of how his father treated his situation with the prefect.