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Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man Essay

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Introduction

Portrait Essay The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce shows the development of the soul and coming of age of Stephen Dedalus in Ireland through religion, politics and the emerging artist. Three scenes that show this development through modernist techniques are the early memories of the family at Christmas (Chapter 1), Stephen's first experience with a prostitute (Chapter 2), and Stephen's revelation at the sight of an unknown girl (Chapter 4). The early memories of Stephen with his family at Christmas show how his soul has been influenced by the conflict of politics and religion in Ireland. While everyone on the table has a strong sense of Irish pride - "He was for Ireland...and so was his father: and so was Dante too" - yet there views on politics were distorted by the religion. Dante supported the common catholic view were the priests were always right - "they must be obeyed". This view is that "God and religion before everything" shows that every aspect of life should be governed the church, showing a restricted society to some extent. ...read more.

Middle

These sensual experiences with the abstract descriptions such as "yellow gasflames arose before his troubled vision against a vapoury sky" show the emerging artist, seeing a world different from others, emphasising his individuality. Conflicting against Stephen's emerging artist is religious morals. Stephen seems to be rejecting many of these religious morals allowing his emerging artist to shape his developing soul - "cared little for mortal sin" and "he wanted to sin with another of his kind, to force another being to sin with him and to exult with her in sin." Yet for his rejection from the church, the repetition of the word "sin" shows that Stephen is unable to escape from religion and it is still very much a part of his soul. He starts to feel beginning of his guilty and lustful soul that makes his soul "dark". The repetition of the line "but his lips would not bend to kiss her" further shows the conflict of the rebellious and religious values in Stephen's developing soul. ...read more.

Conclusion

of sex - even when he thinks of her "bosom was as a bird's song and slight" - instead he sees her as a different beauty - "wonder of mortal beauty, her face." This shows that a new artist has awoken, seeking a beauty in life without the guilt that had come from pleasing his sexual desires. The fact that her name remains unknown to us adds a further mystic quality to her allowing her to be an image of perfect beauty. It is this encounter that adds to Stephen's coming of age and development of his soul as can be seen in the quote: "his soul was swooning into some new world." In concluding, through Stephen's revelation at the sight of the unknown girl, Stephen's first sexual encounter with the prostitute, and Stephen's early memories of the family at Christmas, we see how the emerging artist, politics and religion have led to the development of his soul an his coming of age in Ireland. This has been shown using the modernist techniques of James Joyce in Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Dean Exikanas ...read more.

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