A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man


is above all a portrait of Stephen Dedalus. It is through Stephen that we see his world, and it is his development from sensitive child to rebellious young man that forms the plot of the novel.
There are many Stephens, often contradictory. He is fearful yet bold, insecure yet proud, lonely and at the same time afraid of love. One Stephen is a romantic who daydreams of swashbuckling heroes and virginal heroines. The other is a realist at home on Dublin's most sordid streets. One Stephen is too shy to kiss the young lady he yearns for. The other readily turns to prostitutes to satisfy his sexual urges. One is a timid outsider bullied by his classmates. The other is courageous enough to ...

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force that eventually unites these contradictory Stephens is his overwhelming desire to become an artist, to create. At the novel's opening we see him as an infant artist who sings "his song." Eventually we'll see him expand that song into poetry and theories of art. At the book's end he has made art his religion, and he abandons family, Catholicism, and country to worship it.
The name Joyce gave his hero underscores this aspect of his character. His first name comes from St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr; many readers have seen Stephen as a martyr to his art. His last name comes from the great inventor of Greek myth, Daedalus, whose mazes and waxen wings are the kind of splendid artistic creations Stephen hopes to equal in his writing.

Just as Stephen is a contradictory figure, we may have contradictory feelings about him. We can believe that he is a brilliant artist who must flee dull, uncultured Dublin at any cost. We can admire his intelligence and courage. We can ...

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A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man. (2005, May 14). Retrieved December 11, 2019, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/A-Portrait-Of-Artist-Young-Man/26859
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"A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man." Essayworld.com. May 14, 2005. Accessed December 11, 2019. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/A-Portrait-Of-Artist-Young-Man/26859.
"A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man." Essayworld.com. May 14, 2005. Accessed December 11, 2019. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/A-Portrait-Of-Artist-Young-Man/26859.
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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 5/14/2005 02:04:01 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 809
Pages: 3

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