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In his autobiographical novel, James Joyce develops an alter ego in Stephen Dedalus who is the protagonist in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. While it is very easy to point out Stephens many weaknesses as a person, the majority of these com

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Introduction

Jon Diakanwa AP English Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Stephen Dedalus 2/9/12 In his autobiographical novel, James Joyce develops an alter ego in Stephen Dedalus who is the protagonist in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. While it is very easy to point out Stephen's many weaknesses as a person, the majority of these come about because of his adolescence, just as the title implies. Stephen is impulsive, sensitive, and very emotional but these traits are characteristic of any adolescent at his age. His real character flaws come about in the later chapters of the book in which we can see his excessive pride and his insecurity. ...read more.

Middle

In chapter 5, he is still "aloof, outside the circle, different from other persons of his acquaintance (Ranald)" and he constantly expresses these different ideals in conversations and arguments with his peers in which he often mocks their beliefs. In his argument with Davin, Stephen mocks his patriotism and belief in the nationalistic movement with the belief that he is above all the problems and issues with the country. Despite Stephen's great pride, he still shows much insecurity and lack of confidence in himself especially in his religious morality. In chapter four Stephen makes every effort to keep himself morally pure and even "shuns every encounter with the eyes of women", reminiscent of Old Testament figure Job, but unlike Job, Stephen's actions derive from a lack of confidence in his newly found faith. ...read more.

Conclusion

Were Stephen truly changed, he would be able to overcome any temptation through God who gives us strength, but he instead chooses to hide from all temptations due to his insecurity. Of his many flaws, Stephen's cardinal weaknesses are his pride and insecurity. While these flaws may seem to contradict, they both clearly manifest themselves in his actions and thoughts in chapters four and five. Through Stephen's interactions with his peers and mentors, we can see he views himself highly compared to others, and in his false piety Stephen's insecurity in his faith is revealed. Both of these qualities help develop the character of Stephen Dedalus throughout the autobiographical novel. ...read more.

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