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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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Kristina Guevara Guevara 1 Mr. Keithley English IV Honors 10 March 2009 The novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, depicts the life that both the author James Joyce and the protagonist Stephan Dedaelus went through. When reading, you see the constant struggle that Stephan had to go through to become the artist that was buried inside him. His childhood was one filled with insecurity, isolation and constant bullying from his peer because of his social awkwardness. His primary personality caused a split from his family, friends, and the people around him. He is often seen as a contradictory; his character "is fearful yet bold, insecure yet proud, lonely and at the same tim afraid of love (Brauer 7). Because of his choosing of art and writing, he emerged from his introverted self and broke free; his desires and personal aspirations were not feared to be accomplished. Stephan's self-awakening had driven him to reject conformity to society, religion and the image that his family wanted him to be. But, his self-ruling eventually caught up to him; this led to experiences that emotionally drained him and at the same time, gave him the opportunity to truly find himself. Although the many risks he had taken, the rejection of family, religion and society, he had successful gotten the self-actualization that he had been wanting. Stephan's desire to become an artist is a constant struggle throughout the book, which eventually turns into a self-discovery of him. ...read more.


Then his rejection of Catholicism, God, and any type of religious life to follow art led to the separation of his mother also. His mom was a very religious woman and saw it as offensive that her own son would not follow his mom's ruling. The area where he grew up was, too, a very religious area. Because throughout his childhood he had grown up with this view of religion, his questioning was somewhat seen as a sign of premature rebellion. Is baptism with a mineral water valid? How comes it that while the first beatitude promises the kingdom of heaven to the poor of heart the second beatitude also Guevara 4 promises to the meek that they shall possess the land? Why was the sacrament of the Eucharist instituted under the two species of bread and wine if Jesus Christ be present body and blood, soul and divinity, in the bread alone and in the wine alone? Does a tiny particle of consecrated bread contain all the body and blood of Jesus Christ or a part only of the body and blood? (Joyce 109) Whenever Stephan went off, sinning away, his fellow community always would try and save him. He never wanted to take any ones advice, leading him to be shunned from the Dublin society all because he was different and wanted to explore and discover the art world. ...read more.


Stephan never really knew a lot about himself but he remembers his friend Temple saying, "He's the one man in this institution that has an individual mind" (Joyce 187). He adored Temple because of that statement, especially because it was said in front of the dean of the university. Stephan's inspiration and drive came from that inner feeling of being free and one with himself. Everything that Stephan had went through and witnessed, his isolation and shun from everyone, his attack from those who believed and were devout Catholics, and longing for sovereignty, gave him a better understanding of himself. "The rhythmic rise and fall within each of the five parts controls the structuring of A Portrait of the Artist, as Stephan undergoes the traumatic instances of development and maturation between exploring the infant's world with the awakening of his five senses and the suspended conclusion at which he prepares to embark for Paris" (Benstock 7). Stephan Dedaelus had finally found himself and can proudly say that he is an artist. James Joyce used Stephan as a fictional version of himself to describe hardships, paint a picture of the struggles he had to go through and just told his own personal story, all through a third person point of view. Throughout the novel, Joyce highlights that the only way to have a real understanding of who you are, you need to look at the whole picture, make and interpretation, and contemplate your choices. Your thoughts choose the pathway that you take, which result in the person that you become. ...read more.

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