Brendan O'Connell 4/29/09 ENG 440 Midterm Essay #2 Regarding Portrait In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man we see the

maturation and changing of Stephen Dedalus. In trying to define himself as a Modernist artist, he goes through a lot of trouble and changes opinions, personal philosophy and the way he views the world a few times. In the first four chapters that I will talk about in this paper, we can see the transition of boy to man and watch as Stephen goes from being someone that is controlled to a person that makes his own choices. Sometimes the choices aren't the best, but in the end it really teaches him more about himself. In the first four chapters alone, his view of religion changes at least three times. Throughout the entire book, religion is a key theme and has a lot to do with how he turns out in the end. In many aspects we see how Catholic doctrine is matched with Irish politics. At points in the book there will be talk of God or religion followed directly by talk of Parnell, or a reference to home rule. The religion and politics that Stephen was surrounded with as a child directly impacts his maturation and self-discovery. In chapter four, we find out that things although impacting the way he grew up would not really make a difference as to who he is. “He would fall”, is an incredibly short sentence, but the connotation that it holds so much foreshadowing that you can't help but notice it. Little things like this Joyce has snuck into the novel brilliantly. These three words hold so much power throughout the novel that even if it may not capture Joyce's writing style, it really points out the genius of his organization of the story. I tend to think that this phrase was used to imply that he will fail as an artist. It's another point that might just show how he can become an artist. Failure as an option is really a modernist view and even if Stephen knows that he will fall, he seems to be relatively optimistic about life. At this point in the story, his future as an artist is still pretty unknown to him, but he starting to question religion, life and philosophy really starts his journey towards modernism. He is pushed so far away from religion by being surrounded by it for so long that when he starts his sinning spree, it's almost expected. The desire that he talks about a few times is so strong that you don't feel sorry for him, but you really do understand why he did what he did. He was suppressed from the sexual and sinful world for so long that when he got there, he really just went crazy. In my mind, it seems like no artist is ever really at their best when they are happy, so Stephen's continuous “blue period” really shows that he might be a real artist, instead of just a craftsman.

As a child, Stephen was taught to be a good religious boy that followed all the rules and did what he was told to do. I think that an interesting passage is when Stephen starts to think about “everything”, he says “It was very big to think about everything and everywhere. Only God could do that”(28), he follows that up by talking about people that question what God's name is and comes to the conclusion that “God's real name was God”(28). In the following chapter, Stephen looses the innocence and faith that he once had a child. I see this deep thought about religion as a start to his scientific transition that makes him look at things more closely and question the things that constantly surround him. Joyce's choice of starting this repetition of talking about religion is important for showing how Stephen's maturation really focuses on view of Catholic Doctrine. God really is a symbol that Joyce uses for Stephen and his attempts to find a spiritual father. I think that Stephen ultimately would like to be a God fearing man, but he was tempted and now he finds sex and sin more interesting than going to Church. In the first few chapters, he feels weak and small and seems to just be thrown around, whereas after he removes religion from his life he is more free and feels like he has more power. He attempted to get power by going into the priesthood, but Stephen will never really have the type of power that he is looking for. I'm not really sure that he will ever be able to find that power, perhaps this is answered in Ulysses. God is the power that he wants, by thinking about “everything and everywhere” and then saying only God could do it, he was effectively attempting to be God. He has such a scientific mind that he wants to know what is outside of what we can experience and really wants to know more. It's a different type of desire that makes him rethink Catholic doctrine and allows him to break free of the control and fear that people had over him. Stephen was constantly being controlled by fear of Dante, the Priests, and of his peers. This first thought of having that much power starts his quest to get the power and control that he wants to have over people. I'm not sure if this influenced how he did his art, but it probably made his work more dark. As I mentioned earlier, questioning of everything is a key modernist idea and rejecting the religion and focusing on the real world was probably an important part in shaping who he became as an artist. Joyce's use of describing what Stephen was thinking allows, us to relate more directly to him. We are supposed to understand Stephen's motives later on in the story and Joyce does a great job of using ethos to make us understand how Stephen felt about his life. Chapter three is a large portion of sin. Sin has turned him away from the rest of the world and he is now someone that doesn't really seem to care about anything other than getting sex and fulfilling each and every

desire that he has. There is only one thing that could turn him away from sin and he only really ever refers to it as “her”. After beginning his life of sin with a prostitute, he pretty much just goes down hill and does more bad things. Until he says, “If ever he was impelled to cast sin from him and to repent the impulse that moved him was the wish to be her knight”. Up until that point, I would have assumed that he was going to continue his downward spiral and at some point would never be able to recover from it. His sexual desire seems to be never ending at that point, but this one phrase, although oddly worded, gives a sense of hope. Joyce seems to be missing a comma in this sentence, but it's also possible he left it out to make the reader think more about what the sentence really means. By making something sound odd, it makes it so that the reader has to go back and read that one sentence over and over again, or at least it did that for me. The sentence is also used to point out that Stephen is wondering if what he is doing is really hurting him and ruining his chance for ever having a normal life. I think it's been shown that no well known artist ever had a “normal” life, and this is another point in the story that shows Stephen really is maturing and questioning his frivolous lifestyle. In this same chapter he is also scared back into having faith, proving that he is still missing the form of control that he really needs to be a good artist. Stephen is such a flawed character that when Joyce gives us insight into his inner-life it is normally very important. It's important to see that one woman could change the way he has been living, he is so influenced and overpowered by women that it seems like what he really needs is love, not sex. When he has sex with the prostitute it seems very Oedipal considering that he wants to be “caressed”, “held firmly”, and the fact that he almost burst into “hysterical weeping”(99). Stephen has had a few very powerful women in his life and the fact that we wasn't able to separate Sexualized woman from motherly woman is a little disturbing. I think that Joyce uses this moment to show that Stephen is still a weak character and still has very little control over his life. As far as Stephen's maturation goes, this is a step backwards for him, but this conflict of emotion and odd life, may contribute to his art in a positive way, you never know. The language that Joyce uses to describe the scene with the prostitute really paints a pictures by using such descriptive words that are commonly part of the free and indirect style that he used for this novel. It may be a third person omniscient point of view, but it gives such a clear view of what is happening in the room that you feel like you are there, which is kind of creepy. A developing Ireland with Parnell leading the way is also mentioned many different times through the story. The first mention of Parnell is on the tenth page when Dante tells Stephen that “Parnell was a bad

man”(29). Dante is clearly against Parnell and seems to be the only one in the entire story that doesn't like Parnell. There is mention of Daniel O'Connell, referred to as “the liberator”, and right after that is the scene in which Parnell's death is announced. Joyce clearly makes a big scene out of this and the language of it seems to imply that he was deeply affected when Parnell died. Including a character like Dante shows that Joyce was tolerant of other views and was going to give everyone in Ireland their say. I was only confused by the fact that Dante is now wearing the green velvet on her shoulder that she tore off when she said Parnell was a bad man. It appears that Stephen is not the only one that has spontaneous changes of heart. Later she is fighting against Mr. Casey and he ends up saying “no God for Ireland” followed later by “Poor Parnell...My dead king!” Dante is a dominant woman that know what she wants and will fight for it and has the ability to make grown men cry. The entire scene at the dinner with Mr. Casey is an important talk about religion, While Mr. Casey and Mr. Dedalus argue that being “a priestridden Godforsaken race” is a bad thing, Dante's view on religion is such that she is proud to have so many priests and concludes by saying what I feel is her most important line “God and religion before everything...God and religion before the world!”(48). This one line proves that she really sees religion as the most important thing in life and the language and diction that Joyce has given her makes her sound like strong woman that she has been proven to be. Stephen sees her as the feminine-ideal and really bases all his views on women from her. She influenced him so much as a child that now his maturation and development as an artist is really based around what she taught him. He made some changes to her views, but he is “for Ireland and Parnell” just like she is, or was at some point. She needs to make up her mind. She is the type of woman that Stephen is really looking for, and is the symbol of feminine-ideal that Stephen needs. The Irish politics and culture and history that he learned from her is really what he has based his life on. He made some bad decisions, but ultimately he goes back to the morals that he learned from her. Later in his life, he remembers influential names and the first one in the list is Dante, followed closely by Parnell. These two people are so important in his life the without them, he probably would never be a good artist and would probably continue the life of sin that he started in chapter two. It's easy to see that Stephen's life really developed around following Dante and Parnell's lessons. He used what they said to really discover himself. When we look at Catholic doctrine, Irish history and politics, and sexual desire, we can pretty much see all of who Stephen Dedalus is. Alright, maybe that's a little general and Joyce obviously put a lot of effort into

shaping this character into a believable, flawed character that we are supposed to feel real pity for. Stephen is a clear projection of Joyce and I suppose that we are supposed to see that even if people are flawed, it is possible that they are still good people. Stephen was only able to mature because of the things that he did and without his moments of sin, he would have not been able to really go anywhere in life. His questioning of the world is very important to his maturation and also to his development as a modernist artist. The language and diction that Joyce uses makes it possible to see how he progresses and makes it easy to chart Stephen's progress towards becoming an artist. Joyce's use of free and indirect narrative paints a much richer scene and makes the entire novel seem more real. It allows the reader to become more of an observer than a reader and he can manipulate that to make you feel awkward during one scene and emotionally connected to Stephen in the next scene. In trying to define himself as a Modernist artist, he changes opinions, personal philosophy and the way he views the world multiple times. He is trying to become an artist consciously, but his maturation appears to be completely unknown to him. Throughout the story we see trauma, fear, and confusion and this is what really drives him to become a different person. His imaginative vision is that of a child and in a sense, he really hasn't matured that much from when he was a child. As an artist he is a special type of egotist and has a different type of maturity then we think of most of the time. Stephen really is an extraordinary person and doesn't really fit in with many people. This seems to follow the theme of awkwardness that Joyce has in a few stories in The Dead. Since Stephen is not really normal, he will mature and discover his artistic mode in a special way. It's interesting to look at his fascination with words and language, similar to what Joyce has, and notice that this novel was thought out and written very deliberately. Joyce proves that his writing was not a fluke in Dubliners and establishes himself as a truly great writer. Having given us a special look into the world of Stephen, Joyce want us to look at the language and diction of this writing, notice it but really focus on the story and follow what Stephen is going through. He wants to teach us to be more empirical and take nothing for granted. Like Stephen we are supposed to question, but also use what our parents, political figures, and other people we admire, have taught us. Stephen was able to question everything that he did, but at the same time he was considering what Dante, Parnell, and his Father told him as a child. With this novel we get to watch as Stephen matures and see what he becomes. Joyce used his writing to let us look at how someone grew up so that we may change the way we are living now.