Friday, December 7, 2007

Passage Explication Assignment—James Joyce Period 6



For this Essay on James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, you need to combine two passage explications to create an original thesis.

  • Your paper should be about your strand. This should be the title of the paper.
  • One passage needs to be from chapter 1 and one passage needs to be from chapter 2.
  • One passage needs to be something we have not covered in class.
  • This should be 4-6 pages, typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman.
  • Please post on the blog on Monday. Leave spaces between paragraphs for formatting.

Reminder to read the handout on passage explications and go through this process.

A passage explication is an essay that takes apart the pieces of a prose passage to demonstrate how it creates meaning – its main question can be reduced to the simple idea of “What does the passage mean? What is its purpose? How does it create that meaning and achieve its purpose? How does it fit in with the rest of the text (if available)?

Due Monday, December 10th, between 7a.m. and 7p.m.
Period 6 Post here. Period 6 Post here. Period 6 Post here.

38 comments:

Matthew S. 6 said...

Blindness/Eye Sight

James Joyce uses blindness and eye sight to cleverly help the audience realize the downfall of a character. Eye sight is the act or fact of seeing. Being blind completely strips you of your eye sight leaving you helpless. Blindness is someone unable to see; lacking the sense of sight; sightless. In addition, in an abstract manner, blindness is someone unwilling or unable to perceive or understand. In any form it is used, blindness is a handicap that affects a person to have a hard time to distinguish or solve their hardship.

In the novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedalus is the main character that undergoes many changes as we see him mature throughout the novel. We see Stephen gradually mature little by little such as during his first years from a sheltered little boy to a bright student who understands social interactions and can begin to make sense of the world around him, and another time where Stephen sleeps with the Dublin prostitute. Throughout the whole time Stephen matures, he goes through many phases where he is in confusion or is helpless. This is where Joyce uses blindness and eye sight to show the troubles that Stephen is going through.

In the beginning of the novel, Joyce expresses how child-like Stephen is by the way he starts out with words like “moocow” and “baby tuckoo” to explain how Stephen was. The narrative is limited to Stephen's consciousness, so his misperceptions become part of the story. Joyce also portrays what it means to be a young man growing up in a confusing modern world. In the passage, “Pull out his eyes, Apologise, Apologise, Pull out his eyes.” (Dante, P.21). Dante speaks of what would happen if Stephen didn’t apologize for hiding under the table in the Vance’s home. He claims that if Stephen does not apologize then the eagles will come and pull out his eyes. Joyce uses the pulling out of Stephen’s eyes as an abstract example of the consequences that Stephen would go through if he did not do what was right. Back in Egyptian time, one of the evil penalties inflicted on robbers was of vultures picking out their eyes. Joyce uses this passage to express how badly punished Stephen would be had he not apologize just as if he were a robber like in the Egyptian times.

During the end of chapter two, Stephen has sex with the Dublin prostitute. Joyce portrays this significant part of Stephen’s life where he loses his innocence and turns it into corruption by using the lack of eye sight. “He closed his eyes, surrendering himself to her, body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark pressure of her softly parting lips” (Joyce, P.99). As Stephen loses all eye sight by closing his eyes, he performs his act of corruption because he is unwilling to perceive what is happening. “Conscious of nothing in the world” (Joyce, P.99), shows how after Stephen closes his eyes he is not aware of anything going on around him. Losing his innocence in such a way as to a prostitute obviously shows how badly Stephen has sinned and that is why Joyce uses the lack of eye sight to express Stephen’s downfall in his maturing stage of his life.


James Joyce wants the reader to be able to identify the occurrence of the downfall of someone. Stephen makes many bad choices during his growing up stage. After undergoing each mistake, he falls into a state of unconsciousness of his surroundings or lack of understanding to what he is doing which is portrayed by Joyce with blindness or lack of eye sight such as the closing of eyes.

thespina g 6 said...

References to Language/Tongue

In the passage on page 20, the author James Joyce suggests that the main character, Stephen Dedalus’ use of language reflects his level of maturity and experience in life. Joyce establishes his point by setting up Stephen to be a young child in the beginning of the book and including the stream of consciousness of a child in this passage. He communicates this meaning by using enjambment and creating sentence structures that pertain to the thoughts of Stephen as a child. In the second passage on page 92, Joyce suggests the same as in the first passage. His only alteration is the writing style with which he exposes Stephen’s older thinking to the reader. Joyce continues writing in a stream of consciousness throughout the whole book. However, in this particular passage he makes a transition from young to older when it comes to Stephen’s mind. He communicates this meaning by forming short and choppy sentence structures to represent the child in Stephen and long, detailed sentences which represent Stephen’s teenage self that continue to suffocate the shorter sentences as the passage goes on. In both passages, Joyce is portraying the slow and eventful coming of age of the main character, Stephen Dedalus connecting it to his use of language and his growth as not only a man, but an artist as well.

“Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes” (20). Joyce starts the book with a Latin quotation from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The quotation translates to “And he applies his mind to unknown arts and changes the laws of nature” (20). Joyce foreshadows the coming of age of Stephen by opening the book with a quotation that allows the reader to wonder where it will possibly apply to. Joyce goes on to begin the book in a rather ‘childish manner’. Stephen’s mind bounces from one place to another between a story and his father using words like “moocow”(20) which only a child would use considering that adults know the sounds that cows make and feel no need to include it in the actual name of the animal. Joyce uses needless repetition to make Stephen seem as if he has the same simple thought repeatedly as a child would. After “the moocow came down the road” (20) about fives times, Joyce presents a song to the reader that Stephen considers “his” (20). Immediately after singing the song Stephen’s mind shoots to an incident involving wetting the bed and feeling warm at first, then cold and finally having his mother put the oil sheet on “that had a queer smell” (20). Stephen’s continuous and random speaking and thinking depicts his immaturity and inexperience. It shows how new he is to life and to language. Stephen’s stream of consciousness continues as he describes his mother’s “nicer smell than his father” (21) and how she always “played on the piano” (21) as “he danced” (21). “Tralala lala” (21) is an example of the enjambment Joyce uses to show how inexperienced Stephen is with language. This quotation is its own line and is anything but a sentence but rather, Stephen’s way of thinking as a child. Stephen then compares all the ages of the adults and even mentions his own future. “When they were grown up he was going to marry Eileen” (21). He mentions hiding under the table and recalls even his mother’s instinctive answer for her young son. “O, Stephen will apologise” (21). To which Dante says “O, if not, the eagles will come and pull out his eyes” (21). This sets Stephen off on a useless play of what he just heard. “Pull out his eyes,/Apologise,/Apologise,/Pull out his eyes”(21). Joyce has Stephen mindlessly recite the words to show how much Stephen has yet to learn about language and about life. Joyce’s techniques create meaning by giving the reader a view of Stephen as a child and also a taste of how he thinks as a child and how he uses language. Joyce wants the reader to experience Stephen’s inexperience in the beginning of the book in order to slowly create his coming of age as an artist and young man as the book continues.

The second passage connects to the first by showing the transition Stephen makes from childhood to being a young adult. However, both passages are wonderful examples at showing how Joyce is creating meaning and how he is communicating the growth of the protagonist in the book. In the second passage, Stephen’s “memory of his childhood suddenly” (92) grows “dim” (92). As Stephen “tries to call forth some of its vivid moments” (92) he instead starts describing his life as a teenager and his transition from grade school to college. In this passage is where Joyce makes the sentences more deep and logical as opposed to the random and constant rambling that Stephen did as a child. Joyce creates more meaning in Stephen’s thinking process the older he gets. He continues the writing style of stream of consciousness but the stream of Stephen as a young adult is full of better use of language and much more detail. At school Stephen notices everything from “the firelight leaping and dancing on the wall of a little bedroom in the infirmary”(92) to “a little boy in a grey-belted suit” (92) whose “hands were in his sidepockets and trousers were tucked in at the knees by elastic bands”(92). In this passage, Stephen is observing as his father and his father’s friends drink and have a good time and he feels as though “one humiliation had succeeded another”(93). While watching his father have a good time, he has a hard time understanding what is going on and being said around him but at the same time this helps him with his growth and coming of age as a man. He misunderstands a lot of what is being said but this helps him in the long run with his growth as an artist. He is exposed to more Latin when one man at the bar was “ordered to put his Latin to the proof and made him translate short passages from Dilectus”(93). The Latin is another foreshadowing of Joyce’s which brings forth the theme that there will be a coming-of-age for Stephen. “Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis”(93). The translation is “Circumstances change and we change with them”(93). Joyce’s main purpose is to foreshadow and depict the growth of the protagonist as a man and as an artist. He does so by deepening the language Stephen is exposed to and thinks with and also by confusing his with complex language and topics as challenges which will lead to growth and enlightenment. He also exposes Stephen to Latin which is a reference to tongues and gives Stephen a broader view of not only the written word, but also the spoken.

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, the author uses various techniques to create meaning in two different and significant passages. He exposes the growth the main character will experience as a man and an artist. He uses literary devices such as various sentence structures and Latin quotations and enjambment to depict the changes the protagonist goes through and how they change him and his art.

Laurie M 6 said...

Laurie M.
English 12, H

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man:
Blindness at its Best

In James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man he describes the coming of age process of his main character Stephen Dedalus. While Stephen goes through different stages of life eyesight and blindness play a huge role. Blindness may cause one to change in an instant. Not being able to see straight can cause a person to do things they would never do. With this Stephen’s loss of clear eyesight causes him to lose his innocence while maturing into a young man. One’s ability to see straight is a yielding factor in the growing up stages; one must have the ability to lose oneself in order to find oneself. With the use of similes and perfect word choice Joyce’s conveys this fact.

In this first passage Stephen is being disciplined in class for not having his glasses. His teacher asks Stephen why he is not doing his class work and he tells his teacher that his glasses broke. The breaking of Stephen’s glasses is as if he is breaking himself because he is allowing Father Dolan to crack him mentally. Father Dolan in reaction to Stephan’s story immediately beats him. As his is being beaten “a hot burning stinging tingling blow like the loud crack of a broken stick makes his trembling hand crumple together like a leaf in the fire” (57). Joyce paints a vivid picture for the audience at this point in the novel. Joyce’s simile refers to Stephen’s hand looking “like a leaf in the fire” gives the scene great imagery. As Stephen is being hurt “the sound and the pain scalding tears were driven into his eyes”, this is where eyesight plays a huge role in his maturity. Although Stephen is standing there looking at himself being hurt he can not do anything about it. As he sees himself in pain he also feels his “whole body shaking with fright” through this Joyce proves to the audience that his pain must be difficult to bare. Stephen’s pain is the result of the disciplinary action that was taken against him. As he sees himself in physical pain it takes true maturity for him not to retaliate against Father Dolan. An immature child would have tried to get back at Father Dolan in a physical manner. His vulnerability to his superior is his first step to his maturity. Having the ability to surrender to an adult is something most maturing teens have trouble with. Stephen doesn’t have the ability to do this until he sees himself in complete pain and in order to be on the right path to reach the point of full maturity. Joyce’s use of eyesight in this novel is a key asset to understanding Stephen’s road to maturity.

Another plunge into maturity that Stephen takes is his image of Mercedes. As Stephen releases his true feelings through his imagination his captivating image of Mercedes help him to reach a level of manhood that is new to him. Mercedes’ ability to have him “fade into something impalpable under her eyes” (69) furthers him into maturity. Her eyes have him in a position he has never been in before. Joyce’s choice of words in this passage conveys the power of the opposite sex. In Stephen’s life, like most other teenagers; surrendering to the opposite sex is a major obstacle in coming of age. Stephen gaining the ability to admire another woman other than his mother is one huge step. A boy must have vulnerability to the opposite sex in order to reach a point of manhood. His vulnerability causes his “weakness and timidity” to be unfolded just by the look of this amazing woman he is dreaming of. Stephen’s blindness to Mercedes’ alluring eyes causes him to surrender to her physicality completely in that “magic moment”. This foreshadows a moment in the novel when Stephen takes a step into growing up and gives his all to a woman. A moment that each maturing adolescent must go through in order to reach full development in maturity by letting go of parents and giving trust to another human of the opposite sex.

These two passages connect in a very simple way. James Joyce conveys Stephen’s coming of age through changes that he goes through. With the breaking of Stephen’s glasses he realizes he must surrender to his superior Father Dolan. It is extremely hard for Stephen to stand there and get hurt by him and not do anything about it. This is a stage of maturing because once one realizes there are others who are in charge; their view of the word changes. Stephen looses his glasses which were like his barrier against the world. Once his barrier is broken he has no way of protecting himself and his only option is to allow himself to be beaten and humiliated. Having the capability to yield in anger and become blind to the power of superiors is an important step in Stephen’s coming of age. Another aspect in his life that takes part in his maturing is when he surrenders to Mercedes’ seductive eyes. Her eyes cause him to feel a feeling he never felt before. His mother was the only woman he would have ever trusted as a young child, but having reached adolescence he has overcame that and gave his innocence to a woman.

Eyesight is a key symbol in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the main character Stephen Dedalus goes through the normal steps into becoming a man. Joyce’s great use symbols, simile and word choice conveys this theme. From Stephen loosing his glasses, allowing him to be totally blind to his surroundings and people, to loosing his innocence while being captivated by a woman’s eyes, Stephen releases himself to be able to grow and mature into manhood in the real world.

Meaghan S6 said...

Grapes, Wine, and Dionysus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce employs the symbol of grapes, wine, and the Greek god Dionysus in order to emphasize the inner struggle within Stephen. The recollection of wine or other types of alcohol triggers Stephen’s memories of crucial events in his life. In turn, he then slips into a state of confusion between reality and his imagination, constantly debating within himself over issues ranging from religion to love. Through the juxtaposition of these contrasting feelings, Joyce suggests that the intoxicating power of memory can drastically affect the mentality of an impressionable teenager.

In the passage in Chapter 1 when Stephen recalls the boys at school stealing wine from the sacristy, Joyce contrasts Stephen’s different takes on sin and religion. Stephen first explains that “it had been found out who had done it by the smell” (54). The sense of smell is tied very heavily to memory, so the fact that the boys are caught by sense of smell implies that the memory of what they did is potent enough to stick with them because it essentially brought about their demise.

When Stephen next addresses the issue of sin, he declares that it “must have been a terrible sin” (54) to “steal the flashing gold thing into which God was put on the altar” (54). So, it is Stephen’s first instinct to see the sin in this situation, which implies he has been brought up with morals that reflect his religion. The image of flashing gold represents the power the chalice holds, as gold is normally connoted with power and authority. However, Stephen challenges this authority with curiosity and confusion. Stephen logically and innocently states that “God was not in it of course when they stole it” (54). Though it shows that he is beginning to think more rationally, it also shows that he is starting to question the beliefs that he grew up with. Stephen also calls the boys’ actions a “terrible and strange sin” (54) that “thrilled him” (54). This is a sign of Stephen’s insecurities and confusion because he realizes his inner conflict between what he has been taught and what he is developing in his own mind.

Stephen further goes on to explain the memory of the smell of wine that made him “feel a little sickish” (54). Similarly to the boys who stole the wine and were caught by the smell on their breaths, Stephen recalls his “first holy communion” (54) when the rector “had a winy smell off [his] breath after the wine of the mass” (54). This imagery of smell is tied strongly to one of his earliest religious memories, and in the Catholic religion, the first communion is supposed to be the “happiest day of your life” (54). This is a childhood memory of Stephen’s because he would remember calling it that because his family or other religious influences at school could have referred to it as such. It is almost as if he is ‘drunk’ off of religion because he is force-fed it from multiple aspects of his life and is not really given an option to agree or disagree with it. The smell, thus, triggers the origin of his religious beliefs in contrast to the beliefs he is developing now as a teenager.

To end the passage in between the religious references, Stephen describes the connotations he has of the word wine. He says it is “beautiful” (54) and makes him think of “dark purple because the grapes were dark purple that grew in Greece outside houses like white temples” (54). Calling the word beautiful suggests that Stephen is starting to find an appreciation for words because beautiful has a strong tie with things that are heavenly or unable to be described in any other way. Drawing on the reference to Greece and using the simile to compare the houses to white temples also suggests a heavenly feeling because of how spiritual temples are. The contrast of white houses and dark purple grapes through color imagery is also indicative of Stephen’s confusion because he is battling between conflicting feelings. The white of the houses, as in religion, represents purity, while the dark purple represents the darkness that often tries to overtake the purity, as with the grapes growing over the houses. This is a parallel to his situation because the ‘dark’ thoughts he has are consuming the ‘pure’ thoughts he has been instilled with throughout his life.

Though Stephen is fairly young when the wine incident takes place, he cannot help but feel the struggle between boyhood and adolescence. He battles with the aforementioned religious topic, as young adults often become more quizzical and question what they have been taught. Later on, he also toils with the location in which he lives, another sensitive topic with teens.

In Chapter 2, Stephen’s family is facing financial problems, so they are forced withdraw him from his school and move to Dublin. In Dublin, Stephen looks to find adventure and answers to his complex questions; he sees himself through the story The Count of Monte Cristo and imaginarily falls in love with the character Mercedes. With the new territory comes a new liberty. He becomes “freer” (70) and roams the city, looking vainly for her. Stephen makes a “skeleton map of the city in his mind” (70) in order to trace the streets, describing his passage as “unchallenged” (70). The word unchallenged suggests that Stephen is completely unrivaled, with no one checking his actions and the ‘skeleton’ reference indicates that he sees the area as barren, cold, and empty. This is very different to what he experiences at school, where he is constantly monitored. Now that his family has transitioned into a new home, he is able to do as he pleases, and these new privileges bring about conflict because he does not now how to handle it.

As Stephen wanders through the streets of Dublin, the “vastness and strangeness” (70) of life hit him again. He walks from “garden to garden in search of Mercedes,” (70) passing by the “bearded policeman” (70) and the “bales of merchandise stacked along the walls” (70). This vivid imagery of the town shows how overwhelmed Stephen is in a new city because he was very sheltered in the small community at his school. However, as he reminisces back to his old town, he “missed the bright sky and the sun-warmed trellises of the wineshops” (70). Wine, again, is a familiar element in his life, and the fact that the wineshop is the first thing to come to his mind when thinking about his old town suggests the power wine has over his memory. It is able to manipulate his thoughts and dictate what he associates with it. The warmth given off by the shop in contrast to the cold feeling of wandering the streets alone suggests that even though he is in a new place that will bring him adventure with fantasies like Mercedes, he still dreams of the comfort of his old home. Stephen then remembers the feeling of “vague dissatisfaction” (70) but “continued to wonder up and down day after day” (70). The repetitive back and forth motion ultimately relates to both his futile search for Mercedes and his inner conflicts over religion, morality, and sin. He is shrouded in doubt and cannot seem to grasp a single, solid feeling.

Stephen’s conflicting feelings stem from the thought of one common element: wine. There are multiple connotations of wine, some with grounds in Greek myth and others within the Catholic faith. Dionysus is the Greek god of wine, but is also the god of intoxication. This contrast clearly represents Stephen’s situation because he is caught in between the transition from a boy to a teenager, between what he has been taught and what is logical, and between the real world and his imagination. Wine itself is a pure substance, as it is used in sacraments in the Catholic Church as the blood of Jesus. However, too much wine can cause a person to become drunk, and being under the influence elicits a person to think or say things they typically would not think or say otherwise, just like Stephen does when he contemplates the theft of the wine and Mercedes. Therefore, wine symbolizes the catalyst in Stephen’s conflicting memories of life.

michelle p 6 said...

Stephen Dedalus: Trapped in The World, The Universe

Despite the historical and religious aspects to A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce, the coming of age novel of Stephen Dedalus deals with not only Ireland’s struggle against religious freedom in the 1900’s, but also of Stephen’s struggles with these issues and more importantly, with himself. Joyce uses the idea of eternal struggle, Catch 22’s, to outline Stephen’s significant conflicts that come later in his life: woman and fighting for a cause. Joyce uses this eternal struggle, this spherical cycle of his life, to suggest at the struggle of Stephen Dedalus but also the circular motion of life itself.

“‘Tell us, Dedalus, do you kiss your mother every night before you go to bed?’
Stephen answered: ‘I do.’
Wells turned to the other fellows and said: ‘O, I say, here’s a fellow says he kisses his mother every night before he goes to bed.’
The other fellows stopped their game and turned round, laughing. Stephen blushes under their eyes and said: ‘I do not.’” (25).

Stephen’s internal struggle with not only trying to fit in but with his masculinity is his battle against also being loyal to his mother, the essential woman in his life at the time. Joyce uses Wells, the school bully, as the antagonist for one of the first important events of the book and of Stephen’s growth as a young man and an artist. Using Wells as an attack to Stephen’s masculinity is the vicious Catch 22 that Stephen falls in. “They all laughed again. Stephen tried to laugh again with them. He felt his whole body hot and confused in a moment. What was the right answer to the question? He had given two and still Wells laughed.” (26).

Joyce uses the misconceptions of Stephen’s consciousness as a young man of only fourteen years to also hint at the cycle of confusion that comes with being a young boy. “But Wells must know the right answer for he was in third of grammar” (26). The insecurities of confusion that Stephen feels also are the aspects of his life that exhaust him. Thinking about the “big ball in the middle of clouds” (26) as his world is something Stephen feels so apprehensive about that he believes that it is too massive of a concept to delve into. “It was very big to think about everything and everywhere. Only God could do that.” (27).

These thoughts overpower Stephen as he struggles to find the right answers. “He still tried to think what was the right answer. Was it right to kiss his mother or wrong to kiss his mother? What did that mean, to kiss? You put your face up like that to say goodnight and then his mother put her face down. That was to kiss.” (26). “It made him very tired to think that. It made him feel his head very big” (27). The strife that Joyce portrays through his protagonist, Stephen, does not only reference to the cyclical life of “Stephen Dedalus, Class of Elements, Clongowes Wood College, Sallins, County Kildare, Ireland, Europe, The World, The Universe” (27) but also to life in general.

Stephen’s trials with being unfairly punished are also something he struggles against as he tries to figure out what’s right and wrong. “It was wrong; it was unfair and cruel: and, as he sat in the refectory, he suffered time after time in memory the same humiliation until he began to wonder whether it might not really be that there was something in his face which made him look like a schemer and he wished he had a little mirror to see. But there could not be; and it was unjust and cruel and unfair.” (58).

Joyce uses Stephen’s confusion as a reference to standing up for oneself in life as a whole. “He passed along the narrow dark corridor, passing little doors that were the doors of the rooms of the community. He peered in front of him and right and left through the gloom and thought that those must be portraits. It was dark and silent and his eyes were weak and tired with tears so that he could not see.” (59).

The “narrow dark corridor” is the trapping path Stephen internally walks upon as he decides what to do for his unfair punishment. As he walks on, the Catch 22’s unravel. “Yes, he would do what the fellows had told him. He would go up and tell the rector that he had been wrongly punished. A thing like that had been done before by somebody in history, by some great person whose head was in the books of history. And the rector would declare that he had been wrongly punished because the senate and the Roman people always declared that the men who did that had been wrongly punished. Those were the great men whose names were in Richmal Magnall’s Questions.” (58).

To go along with this theme of triumph and standing for one’s right Joyce uses the historical aspects of the Romans to prove the point that Stephen Dedalus is able to overcome the strife of being trapped in an orb of confusion. There are also references to the past great men in Stephen’s life, although not personal. “But he thought they were portraits of the saints and great men of the order were looking down on him silently as he passed: saint Ignatius Loyola holding an open book and pointing to the words Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam in it, saint Francis Xavier pointing to his chest, Lorenzo Ricci with his berretta on his head like one of the prefects of the lines, the three patrons of holy youth, saint Stanislaus Kostka, saint Aloysius Gonzaga and blessed John Berchmans, all with young faces because they died when they were young and Father Peter Kenny sitting in a chair wrapped in a big cloak.” (60).

To portray Stephen’s growth Joyce uses the justice of Stephen’s unfair punishment as the triumphant moment in Stephen’s life as a young man. “‘Very well, the rector said, it is a mistake and I shall speak to Father Dolan myself. Will that do now?” (61). Being that Stephen Dedalus is Joyce’s hero in the novel, Joyce portrays the moment as a glorious win for not only Stephen and his friends, but for justice in life. “They made a cradle of their locked hands and hoisted him up among them and carried him along till he struggled to get free. And when he had escaped from them they broke away in all directions, flinging their caps again into the air and whistling as they went spinning up and crying ‘Hurroo!” (62). In this cycle of growing up, the same boys that bully Stephen also are the ones that cheer for him as the triumph in their small community flourishes throughout all of them.

Christina H 6 said...

Water in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce uses water as a symbol of Stephen’s inner conscious to show Stephen’s development into a young man. As a little boy, Stephen leads a simple life, because he is unaware of his emotions and instincts, and the events in the real world like the internal and foreign affairs of Ireland over politics and religion. Joyce uses imagery to compare the contamination of the water to that of Stephen’s mind. The pureness and clarity of Stephen’s mind blurs as he is exposed to the real world and is soon pressured to be a part of it. The tides toss and turn in the ocean like clashes of emotional and rational struggles within Stephen.

At Clongowes, Stephen meets Nasty Roche and the other mean boys, who pick on him. One time Nasty Roche accuses Stephen friend, Simon Moonan of being a “suck,” teacher’s pet; Stephen flashes back to an image of a white lavatory where “his father pulled the stopper by the chain after and the dirty water went down through the hole in basin” (24). Water is pure like Stephen’s young mind. The dirty water represents the contamination Stephen’s innocent mind as he and his friend become targets of insult and mockery. Stephen doesn’t understand why Roche and his friends tease him and spit hurtful words. He was brought up to be a good boy. Mother taught him well. Mother isn’t here to protect Stephen and provide him with logical explanations that he seeks.

Stephen must learn to create his own reasons and make rational decisions based on the concept of good versus bad. The “cold and hot cocks” (24) in the lavatory are one of the first decision-making scenarios that Stephen meets. He realizes that depending on the cock he chooses to turn, the water that comes out will either be cold or hot. Stephen is in control of the temperature of the water. Joyce relates Stephen’s choice between hot and cold to his choice between good and bad in the future. Stephens thinks that it is “queer” seeing names “printed on the cocks” (24). The hotness and coldness of water can easily be distinguished through the sense of touch—feeling. Likewise, good and bad actions shouldn’t need labels since people are supposed to know by instinct the difference between the two. Joyce foreshadows that Stephen will have trouble making the right decisions even though it is clear that he knows when he has sinned.

Later, when Stephen and his family move to Cork, Stephen becomes troubled as the calm, consistent flow of his life is disrupted. With the death of Parnell and decline in wealth and status, Stephen witnesses his father, who is a role model figure to him, break down physically and emotionally before his eyes. Stephen does not understand the factors contributed to his father’s decline in authority and power. Stephen loses the deep connection he once had with his father and mother as well. Since Stephen is growing up, “his mother had no further occasion to upbraid him for squandering money” (96). Joyce hints that Stephen’s mother is slowly letting her son go. Stephen gains more responsibility for himself and becomes more independent. He is free do spend and waste his money as he wishes.

Without restrictions, “the “rules of life which he had drawn about himself fell into desuetude” (96). Desuetude denotes an abandoned practice. Joyce captures Stephen’s fall into a state of confusion. The foundation of his life is breaking. He puts all that he has learned about right and wrong aside, and needs to build a new base. Stephen realizes “how foolish his aim had been” (97)! Joyce inserts this exclamation to capture Stephen’s epiphany. Stephen heaves in disappointment at the “falsehood” (97) of his entire life. The “tides within him” “jostle fiercely above the crumbled mole” (97). Stephen feels the emotions within himself clash as he attempts to make sense of his entrance into manhood with only his weakened father as an example. The tides push against him like the pressure surrounding him. Without a strong sense of direction and the lack of decision-making skills, Stephen falls into “isolation” (97). The tide causes Stephen to drift farther and farther away from his parents. He is unable to connect with his parents and feels like a “fosterchild’ (97) to them. Joyce describes the widening gap between a parent and a child’s relationship through this image.

As Stephen begins to follow his own perceptions, he questions the “rules” that his family had insisted that he follow for all these years. Under the “rules of conduct” (97), he was forced to restrict himself from adventure and exploration. Joyce elaborates on the complications that develop as Stephen evolves into a man. The inner struggle exists to challenge the mind and promote the usage of reason. In return, reason helps Stephen draw conclusions and makes better decisions for himself. Once Stephen overcomes his state of confusion, his mind will return to a state of peace. Joyce illustrates the struggle between mind and reality to show that it is a crucial part in the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Michael R. 6 said...

The Church in the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the author James Joyce suggests that Stephen is able to understand the world with the help of the Catholic Church. Stephen is constantly stepping out of reality and retreating into the shelter of his inner thoughts where his mind wanders and tries to connect things together. Stephen mentions the Church and God many times in his thoughts. They are his answers to life’s biggest mysteries. If one cannot comprehend at first then there is going to be a great deal of time spent on the matter. Stephen refers to the Church in his search for answers. In the first passage, there is innocence as Stephen stops to think about God and realizes that he is part of the intricate web of the universe. In the second passage, while Stephen is with his father he separates himself from the rest of the world to reflect on the more vivid moments of his childhood, wondering if there will be a procession for him at his mass.

The first passage (28) begins with Stephen reading some notes that he wrote as he drifts from completing his Geography homework. All of America’s countries were “[in] different places that had those different names.” Remembering geography is difficult for a young teen that is born and raised in Ireland where the America’s are of little concern. Stephen then drifts from his work and his mind looks at the maps of the world in his geography book. Stephen continues jumping thoughts, “the countries were in continents and the continents were in the world and the world was in the universe.” He then chooses to refer to the beginning blank pages of his book as James Joyce shifts from the real world to Stephen’s inner thoughts. Stephen reads some of his notes written by him and one of his classmates. The author is able to illustrate the inner thoughts of a boys mind as he wanders from homework to his more appealing thoughts.

In Stephen’s notes, James Joyce separates the universe into sub-categories conveying the idea that Stephen is unable to comprehend how small he is compared to the size of the universe, asking himself, “What was after the universe? Nothing. But was there anything round the universe to where it stopped before the nothing place began?” James Joyce beautifully connects to the ultimate answer; God. “Only God could do that,” which Stephen is unable to do. Stephen does not know anything about the universe because it is so vast. James Joyce introduces God as something that Stephen does know and can understand. Stephen realizes that God is God. The author then shifts from the topic of the universe to one of God.

Because God was God, the answer to Stephen’s burning question, the universe is simply the universe. There is no scientific research to be done about it because the universe is vast and “it was very big to think about everything and everywhere.” “Only God could,” know if there was a thin line around the end of the universe. “Only God could,” know where the universe ends and where it begins. With the answer in mind, Stephen’s thoughts take over his mind for the moment. Joyce shifts from God to his name and the origin of his name. Stephen is further pushed into the realization that he is tiny in the universe because “God was God’s name just as his was Stephen,” conveying that he is nothing compared to God’s power. Stephen would not be able to fit to that name because he is not divine. The word Dieu is mentioned in the passage and it infers that Stephen knows French and has wondered about the significance of God around the world. There are many ways of saying God in many different languages. The use of the language of French can connect to the Catholic Church and its presence in France. The Pope used to live in Southern France and the supposed secret bloodline of Jesus Christ (talked about in the Da Vinci Code) escaped to France. Stephen steps back to teach himself, allowing his thoughts to guide him to the real answer. Joyce’s many transitions from thoughts of the universe to thoughts of the influence that God has around the world beautifully illustrates the inner workings of a teenage boy’s mind as he daydreams while trying to complete his schoolwork.

The second passage (92) also begins with Stephen stepping out of reality. He tries to gather the memories of his childhood. Joyce quickly summarizes Stephen’s whole life up to that point and does not forget to talk about his communion because it is a very significant point in any Catholic’s life. This conveys the fact that Stephen has not forgotten his Christianity.

Stephen is lead up to the near present as he remembers his recent, near death experience in the infirmary and “dreamed of being dead.” The period of time in the infirmary was very awakening; almost like a timed interruption that lures him to the Church and Christ. Stephen wonders if the church will remember him with a mass in his honor. Joyce brings up Parnell and the fact that there was no mass and no procession for the dead in the chapel. Stephen feels low as he “[fades] out like a film in the sun.”

Joyce’s next sentence is easily connected to Stephen’s thoughts from the first passage. Stephen wonders if “he had been lost or had wandered out of existence for he no longer existed.” Again there is a separation from the universe and a complication of whether or not he really existed. Joyce easily transitions from the thought of being dead to thoughts of the universe and the significance of Stephen’s fading away. At the end of the passage, Stephen is awake and realizes that he is not dead and that he is standing in his grey belted suit in Cork, Ireland alongside his father who seems younger than Stephen because of the symbolic selling of their old home.

In both passages, Joyce is able to navigate Stephen’s thoughts as he contemplate his fate and his place among the divine powers of God and the universe. Stephen is constantly questioning the things that are incomprehensible to him; as if he could find the answers himself. In the end, he turns to God and the teachings of the Church. The Church provides clues to the mysteries of death and the afterlife and to whether or not Stephen is in existence. Then Joyce brings him back to the life in front of him in ways that awaken Stephen almost as if he was in a daze. Joyce shows that there is a constant battle within Stephen to find his place in the universe as many teenagers do in this day and age.

Brian A. 6 said...

Through-out the first two chapters of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man, Author James Joyce includes Irish Nationalist leader Charles Parnell throughout these chapters because he is the hope of “Ireland” for the nationalists. Not only does Joyce use Parnell as an example of wrong-doing he also uses him to describe the difference in politics in the Daedelus Family thus exemplifies the political turmoil facing Ireland. Joyce uses the image of Parnell throughout the book to show the “real” Ireland, as well as Parnell’s short comings by including factual history in this novel.

Joyce depicts Dublin almost identically as it was; a city of poverty, financially and spiritually. This book was written when people where only beginning to question England’s authority over Ireland. Many were extremely nationalistic and spoke Irish within the families and others were “Paralyzed” as Joyce describes it .At this time the church even up in to the 70's was extremely powerful and held rule over the people. Perhaps this group of people believed that religion was their only salvation. While others though that Parnell could have saved them. But unfortunately he was thrown out of parliament due to his affair with Kitty O'Shea. One may see how religion and moral codes may have prevented the freedom of these people. Joyce’s message throughout 'Portrait', is how religion has hindered freedom at a time when that is what religion advocated. Most Irish people living in poverty at this time focused solely on survival and the domesticities of everyday life. Joyce paints this beautifully at the dinner table scene with the argument over Parnell. He depicts a political issue against a domestic backdrop, while they are eating, feeding their bodies and not their minds.

“ I’ll pay you you dues, father, when you cease turning the house of God into a pollingbooth. – A nice answer, said Dante, for any man calling himself a catholic to give to his priest. – They have only themselves to blame, said Mr Dedalus suavely. If they took a fool’s advice they would confine their attention to religion. –It is religion, Dante said. They are doing their duty in warning the people. –We go to the house of God, Mr Casey said, in all humility to pray to our Maker and not to hear election addresses. –It is religion, Dante said again. They are right. They must direct their flocks. –And preach politics from the altar, is it? Asked Mr Dedalus. –Certainly, said Dante. It is a question of public morality. A priest would not be a priest if he did not tell his flock what is right and what is wrong… -He was not longer worthy to lead, said Dante. He was a public sinner. –We are all sinners and black sinners, said Mr Casey coldly… -Let him remember too, cried Mr Casey to her from across the table, the language with which the priests and the priests’ pawns broke Parnell’s heart and hounded him to his grave. Let him remember that when he grows up. (pg 41-3)

This political issue draws upon so many parallels between morality, church and state as well as Parnell and what he committed. Joyce brings forth the severe political differences not only in the Daedelus family but also within Ireland itself. Joyce does this by bringing a direct political argument about Parnell during Christmas dinner. Joyce touches upon many things in these three pages like politics during mass at church, Parnell and his “right” to “rule” the Nationalist party in Ireland and Parnell’s legacy all in these pages by alluding to many things that happened to Parnell in an obvious manner, by directly stating it. Joyce does this in order to set-up the huge divide with-in Stephen Daedelus. Parnell is the epitome of a sinner to some citizens of Ireland and other’s he is a hero. By doing this it further divides Stephen between Dante and his father as well as religion and politics. It is interesting that Joyce chooses Parnell because Parnell’s life is nothing but scandalous. The fact that he had an affair with Kitty O’Shea also can connect to Stephen’s yearning for a women or his destruction of his innocence by curiosity, which is seen when he goes to the prostitute. Kitty O’Shea? Prostitute? Ironic maybe intentional it is inferred.
Joyce draws a parallel between an individuals search for identity against a nations search. Stephen must look inside himself and his soul to discover his true purpose. At the same time, the Irish people as a repressed society at this time needed to regain spirit to fight, and recover the real and true identity of Ireland.

-I am Stephen Dedalus. I am walking besides my father whose is Simon Dedalus. We are in Cork, in Ireland. Cork is a city. Our room is in the Victoria Hotel. Victoria and Stephen and Simon. Simon and Stephen and Victoria. Names. The memory of his childhood suddenly grew dim. He tried to call forth some of its vivid moments but could not. He recalled only names: Dante, Parnell, Clane, Clongowes. A little boy had been taught geography by an old woman who kept two brushes in her wardrobe. Then he has been sent away from home to a college. In the college he has made his first communion and eaten slim jim out his circketcap and watched the firelight leaping and dancing on the wall of a little bedroom of the infirmary and dreamed of being dead, of mass beng said for him by the rector in a black and gold cope, of being buried then in the little graveyard of the community off the main avenue of limes. But he had not died then. Parnell had died. There had been no mass for the dead in the chapel and no procession. He had not died but he had faded out like a film in the sun. He had been lost or had wandered out of existence in such a way, not by death but by fading in out in the sun or by being lost and forgotten somewhere in the universe! It was strange to see his small body appear again for a moment: a little boy in a grey belted suit. His hands were in his sidepockets and his trousers were tucked in at the knees by elastic bands. (pg.92)

Joyce is alluding to so much in such little text by making little allusions to many other things like the sun and fading out it could be tied back Icarus or being lost and the universe, once again making Stephen’s divide within himself even bigger. It is possible that once Parnell died, a piece of Stephen died as well. The way Joyce writes this passage is amazing, it causes one to imagine these scenes and depict them in their head. It is interesting that Stephen recalls Dante and Parnell because Dante is morally opposed to Parnell, meanwhile Clane and Clongowes are also different. Joyces goes on to write “ the has been no mass for the dead in the chapel and no procession.” This is not true when Parnell died there were over 150,000 people in attendance, but perhaps he writes in order to show the hatred Dante has toward Parnell. Joyce does this in order to show that Stephen is a worldly kid, he knows about Parnell, and the fact that Parnell has died made Stephen think of his own death is very interesting because why would Joyce make this event have such an impact on Stephen if it was meant to show that Stephen perhaps likes Parnell. One thing that it also note worthy is that Joyce writes “ He had wandered out of existence in such a way, not by death but by fading in out in the sun or by being lost and forgotten somewhere in the universe” (pg. 92) shows more symbols as well.

Parnell is huge in Portrait because in a way he is Stephen but in many other ways he is Ireland. Joyce uses Parnell to help show the political divide in Ireland as well as Stephen’s own divide within himself because Parnell is a great strand to use to describe some who has internal turmoil and unsolved mysteries within because Parnell is this divide between both entities in the book. Thus dividing Stephen and Ireland even than before.

Jessica F. 6 said...

Fire in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


In a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce there were two passages that were distinctive to my focus of fire. In the passages that I chose both of them insinuate that when James Joyce writes about fire there are certain desires that the characters are attempting to release, also in those passages those fiery desires end up adding on to something negative or sinful. The sudden burst’s of fiery desires causes the characters in the book to do things that follow with negative outcomes. The outcomes in the situations are noticed and sometimes they are ignored. Stephen realizes that those experiences are not going to be accepted and that it makes him feel sick and at times selfish. Stephen through both passages clearly shows the reader that he is struggling with the acceptance from his society and all that influences his interpretation of his life and everyone else around him.

In this first passage of chapter one, James Joyce writes about how theses groups of boys were able to go into the church and steal some money and how they also stole some holy wine that is used for their holy mass. Stephen in this passage is listening to some boys’ gossip about what happened, while they are in the presence of the church. Stephen struggles with his fiery side that pesters him to satisfy his passions and then there is this other side of him that wants him to do the good and pure things in life to satisfy the society. In the first few sentences of the passage the boys discuss what happened that day, “But Why did they run away, tell us I know why, Cecil Thunder said. Because they had fecked the cash out of the rector’s room. Who fecked it? Kickham’s brother. And they all went shares in it. But that was stealing. How could they have done that? A fat lot you know about it, Thunder! Wells said. I know why they scut. Tell us why. I was told not to, Wells said. O, go on, Wells, all said. You might tell us. We won’t let it out. Stephen bent forward his head to hear. Wells looked round to see if anyone was coming. Then he said secretly: You know the altar wine they keep in the press in the sacristy? Yes. Well, they drank that and it was found out who did it by the smell. And that’s why they ran away, if you want to know. And the fellow who had spoken first said: Yes that’s what I heard too from the fellow in the higher line”(49). In the first part of the passage the boys are just explaining how the boys stole the money and the wine for their own enjoyment. James Joyce is almost making these characters sound like older mature people through context, they do not sound like children just gossiping they seem almost more sophisticated in nature, they are fearing no one. Also, the boy’s who stole the wine were doing it purely to satisfy their desires that are coming from their ID’s.

In the next part of the chapter one passage, James Joyce describes Stephen almost like a child because he is recalling his memories of his childhood where he helped out the church in the summers by carrying the incense to the altar. Stephen is also intimidated when they talk about these boys, he is afraid to express how he feels about the situation, “The fellows were all silent. Stephen stood among them, afraid to speak, listening. A faint sickness of awe made him feel weak. How could they have done that?..He remembered the summer evening he had been there to be dressed as boatbearer, the evening of the procession to the little altar in the wood. A strange and holy place”(49). In this passage James Joyce wants the reader to notice his emphasized “listening.” Stephen did not want to add anything to the conversation because he was afraid of what his classmate’s reactions would be. Stephen also does not understand how they were able to steal money and wine from the “holy place,” it made him feel sick just thinking about why those boys listened to their fire of desire to purify or release the urges, plainly to satisfy their own wants. The wine that was stolen or the “blood of Christ” was stolen for their own enjoyment and that makes Stephen feel sick, the outcome was negative because the things that were stolen were not in anyway theirs and they had no right to walk into a holy place and steal something that meant so much to the people of the church.

In the next passage from chapter two, James Joyce describes an experience that Stephen is facing, the moment almost seems like a dream or Stephen’s imagination. In the passage it’s basically Stephen’s desires slowly burning inside him and forcing him to satisfy his desire of lust. James Joyce makes him seem like the desire is torturing him and this moment is unbearable for Stephen. “Such moments passed and the wasting fires of lust sprang up again. The verses passed from his lips and the inarticulate cries and the unspoken brutal words rushed forth from his brain to force a passage”(98). The imagery in this passage is magnificent, James Joyce describes the inability to release himself verbally, the “brutal” words were in his brain but he was unable to release them because his lips and his voice wouldn’t let him. Following the struggle of speaking, his whole body was suffering also, “His blood was in revolt… He stretched out his arms in the street to hold fast the frail swooning form that eluded him and incited him: and the cry that h had strangled so for so long in his throat issued from his lips”(98). When James Joyce describes this passion he has to release the sounds from his throat and Stephen having to spread his arms apart to control himself that position with his arms almost seems to show how Stephen struggles to still be holy by imitating Christ, when he was being nailed to the cross. Stephen is struggling to go either the holy way; which is to stop from envisioning his desire for lust and release himself or to stop and control himself because it is sinful. In the last part of the passage Stephen is confiding with his ID, “ It broke from him like a wail of despair from a hell of sufferers and died in a wail of furious entreaty, a cry for an iniquitous abandonment, a cry which was but the echo of an obscene scrawl which he had read on the oozing wall of a urinal”(98). Stephen’s blood comes up a lot in the book especially when he talks about his death and his funeral. The connection with my topic is that they are both the same color, red. Fire tends to be red when it is not that hot, and blood turns red when exposed to oxygen. One sentence in the passage says “It broke from him like a wail of despair from a hell of sufferers,” has a connection with the negative outcomes that lead to his situation and the topic of fire. For example, James Joyce is associating fire with hell, comparing How Stephen suffers, he is suffering the same torture that those would be suffering down in the fiery depths of hell. Fire is very closely related to religion, Stephen thinks that church views him as a sinner, he thinks he would be sent down to hell for not listening to their laws and their Society.

Overall, the passages both demonstrated how these viscous bursts of desires each influence some outcome that is eventually damaging to Stephen or to his society. What James Joyce is trying to tell the reader is that these selfish outbursts of the ID will damage your environment but if not released with slowly burn you internally. The topic of fire usually is brought up to demonstrate a negative idea or situation. It also connections to the topic of religion and that it something that Stephen is actively involved in and has a passion for, to some point.

Jessica F. 6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quan T 6 said...

Grapes, Wine, and Dionysus in A Portrait of a Young Man as an Artist

In A Portrait of a Young Man as an Artist, James Joyce uses grapes and wine as a symbol of the vital union of believers with Jesus Christ. Grapes and wine are also used as reference to Dionysus, the god of wine. Wine, like Dionysus, can bring joy and divine ecstasy; however it can also bring forth brutal and unthinking rage. Through the Stephen’s treatment of grapes and wine, Joyce portrays his moral standings in relation to the Christian faith.

In Chapter I, Maltreatment of wine is found when the boys dare to drink “some of the alter wine out of the press in the sacristy” (54). Joyce includes Stephen’s opinions regarding this matter to display a distinct difference in moral standings regarding Christian faith between Stephen and the boys. Stephen claims that it is a “great sin even to touch” (54) the alter wine. The idea of the boys stealing and drinking the alter wine is unthinkable in the eyes of faithful Christians. Although, Stephen believes that drinking “the alter wine out of the press and be found out by smell” (54) is a sin, it does not seem so “terrible and strange” (54) after all. Stephen’s innocence influences him to believe that only the smell of wine causes him “feel a little sickish” (54).

Wine has a religious reference Jesus Christ’s blood, body, and all the suffering he endures for mankind. The boys commit sin because they disrupt the sanctity of the sacristy, which hold the “flashing gold thing into which God was put on the alter” (54). Gold, in society, is highly valued. Therefore it gives off an aura of great importance and value. Stealing is utterly sinful, but stealing an item of such high value and religious significance further increases the severity of the act. When the boys drink the alter wine, they consume a part of Jesus Christ and all of which he stands for, such as the suffering for sins of mankind. In Christian faith, the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ allowed sinful human beings to be reconciled to God. Thus, they are offered salvation and eternal life. The boys’ abuse towards the wine eradicates all the work Jesus suffers to obtain. The boys’ mere drink of wine represents far more than thievery. It is an act of larceny of reconciliation, salvation, and eternal life away from faithful Christian followers.

The boys lose their innocence when they steal and drink the alter wine. They become ruthless fools when they proceed with their plan. Drawn by the joy and ecstasy that wine can give, the boys completely disregard the unthinking and brutal nature which wine brings along. Towards the end of the passage, Joyce claims that the first communion is supposed to be the “happiest day of your life” (54). The boys’ sinful actions stain the idea of this holy sacrament.

Although Stephen is exposed to the sinful act of the wine incident, he is still able to maintain his innocence. He understands why the boys may want to precede with the pilfering; but he doe not fall to their influence. Stephen remains faithful in his moral standing to Christianity. Even within his free time and imagination, Stephen sunconsciously remains innocent and true to Christianity.

In Chapter II, Stephen spends the beginning of his summer in Blackrock, a suburb south of Dublin, with his constant companion, Uncle Charles. In the mornings, Stephen enjoys going on errands with his Uncle Charles because he helps Stephen “very liberally to handfuls of whatever was exposed in open boxes and barrels outside the counter” (66). Uncle Charles would “seize a handful of grapes and sawdust or three or four American apples into his grandnephew’s hand” (66). In an abstract sense, Uncle Charles is generously giving a part of Christianity to Stephen. The shopman “smiles uneasily” (66) at this action because Stephen is still a child at this moment and he seems incapable of possessing something of such immense magnitude. Stephen feigns reluctance to take the grapes and other items until the shopman insists that “they’re good for your [Stephen’s] bowels” (66). In an abstract sense, the shopman suggests that eating grapes is beneficial to Stephen’s body because it will make him mature. According to the shopman, if Stephen consistently allows more faith of Christianity to enter his body, he is able to remain healthy.

Later in the evenings, Stephen focuses his entirety “over a ragged translation of The Count of Monte Cristo” (67). Stephen almost falls for the bait of sin while he indulges himself into the book. The figure of dark avenger lingers in his mind “for whatever he had heard or divined in childhood of the strange and terrible” (67). Stephen imagines “a small whitewashed house in the garden of which grew many rosebushes” (67) outside Blackrock. Rosebushes signify love and house is inhabited by Mercedes. The existence of Mercedes draws Stephen away from his innocence and pushes him towards the sin of adulthood. Stephen begins to develop a diminutive, but significant lust towards Mercedes. From there, Stephen imagines undergoing a “long train of adventures” (67) to be with Mercedes. At the end, Stephen imagines himself, “older and sadder, standing in a moonlit garden with Mercedes who had so many years before slighted his love” (67). Joyce shows the Stephen undergoes a great expedition to further pursue a relationship with Mercedes. It is evident here that Stephen has a small idea of adulthood. The passage ends with Stephen stating that he will “never eat muscatel grapes” (67).

Stephen’s refusal to eat muscatel grapes describes him as a faithful character because he is able to surmount Mercede’s alluring qualities. He also remains faithful to Christianity even when exposed to the influence of older boys. Stephen’s subconsciously rejecting nature towards grapes and wine portrays him as a person that clings onto his childhood innocence.

Benwit L 6 said...

Art vs. Nature in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Art and nature can be seen in a contrasting manner. For an artist, to create art is to create an image or an emotion out of nothing. However, nature has a sense of supremacy in which the objects created through nature are part of reality. Artists have attempted to mimic and even surpass the qualities of nature through their techniques. In James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, as Stephen grows up as a budding, young poet, he struggles with the vastness of nature and the superiority it imposes on him. Through Stephen’s artistic journey, Joyce implies that nature is genuine and can not be attained through art.

Through the innocent mind of Stephen, Joyce establishes that nature has a sense of infiniteness. As Stephen opens up his geography notebook, he reads the writing on the inside and tries to interpret it artistically by reading the verses backwards. Stephen writes that heaven is his expectation as if to place himself on a pedestal. He states that “Clongowes is [his] dwellingplace” (28) and that “Ireland is [his] nation” (28). By referring to the places as his dwellingplace and his nation, Stephen suggests that he holds some position of power in the areas and further strengthens his image. His pseudo poem dramatically ends with “Stephen Dedalus is my name” (28). The other statements give Stephen a sense of importance which heightens the effect of stating his name last.

Although one can interpret meaning in the backwards verses, Stephen himself acknowledges that “they are not poetry” (28). In his artistic act, Stephen contemplates on what true importance he has on the world. He wonders what is beyond the universe and can think of nothing. He then speculates if there is “anything round the universe to show where it stopped before the nothing place began” (28) and if “there could be a thin thin line there all round everything” (28). Ultimately, Stephen concludes that “only God could do that” (28). God, the ultimate creator and nature itself, is the only one that has the power to do such an action. In a sense, His importance is above the importance of all others, including artists such as Stephen. In an attempt to create purpose for himself, Stephen gains a better understanding of the immeasurable aspect of nature.

If one were to assume that nature is inclusive of all things occurring naturally, then one can believe that human emotions are included in the bigger scale of nature. Like other instances of nature, emotions can not be emulated as simply as artists think. Stephen, inspired by his brooding, yearns to right a poem full of feelings of passion yet he finds himself unable to. With the intent of intensifying his emotions, he removes parts of the scene which “he deemed common and insignificant” (74). In his emotionally driven poem, “there remained no trace of the tram itself nor of the trammen nor of the horses: nor did he and she appear vividly” (74). The lovers in his poem are no longer of Stephen and EC but two unnamed protagonists. What remains is “the night and the balmy breeze and the maiden luster of the moon” (74). His poem is filled with emotions and the images he creates give the reader a glimpse at Stephen’s feeling. However, Stephen obscures his magical moment far too much. The elements that Stephen believes are too ordinary are what also make the moment. Without any hint of the real aspects of the scene, Stephen’s poem becomes only a description of a nearly surreal landscape. In Stephen’s attempt to recapture the moment it is unlikely that any of the truth is retained. Nothing within Stephen’s image is natural, feelings or setting.

Joyce tells the reader that recreating nature will end in vanity through Stephen’s failures. Joyce chooses the intellectual Stephen, an aspiring young artist, as the protagonist. Stephen is driven by the goal of all artists: to express a certain scene or emotion. As skillful as he is at his art form of choice, he is still unable to overcome the conflict between art and nature in all senses. Nature should not be mimicked but should be left the way it is, just as portraits do not exaggerate features; rather, portraits leaves them the way they are.

Erika R. 6 said...

Dante in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce uses the character of Dante to show a point of view of a feverous catholic believer about morality which influences Stephen’s thoughts and believes about the church and Parnell. Dante believes that there should be no separation of powers and that the Catholic Church has the right to influence a country and people’s lives in every sense. Dante does not believe in disobeying a priest, and even worse talking bad about a person from God.

Dante confuses Stephen with her beliefs and actions. In Chapter one Stephen is thinking about God and the he asks himself “which was right to be for the green or for the maroon…” (28). Stephen is very young and his character is still developing. He does not know what is right and what is wrong yet. At this point he remembers that “Dante had ripped the green velvet back off the brush that was for Parnell one day with her scissors and had told him that Parnell was a bad man”(29). Stephen sees Dante dislikes Parnell and he thinks about that while he is in school. Dante is a “true believer” and most of all a strong defendant of the Catholic Church and its rules. Parnell, who had been discovered of committing adultery, was condemned by the church and by Dante as well.

Dante would not listen to any reasons; neither would she change her thoughts about Parnell and his shameful acts. Stephen, who attends a Catholic School, has to hear about this when he goes home for vacation. As an adolescent growing up and defining his beliefs and character, Stephen is influenced by Dante’s words, not only he hears about sin and adultery at school by also he hears Dante talking about how a shame it is to commit sin. All of these play a big role in Stephen’s conscience and life as he grows up.

Dante Alighieri, an Italian poet, wrote his famous work Inferno, where he describes hell and how sinful temptations affect people’s lives. Dante Alighieri is then connected to the character of Dante in Joyce’s A portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Dante is a spiritual meaningful character who condemns sin and protects Heaven and the Catholic Church. In Inferno, Alighieri writes about him going to hell and experiencing his way through hell and then ascending to the purgatory. This symbol of Dante being a character in Joyce’s Portrait connects the spiritual world and Dante’s faith.

On chapter 2, Stephen looks back at his childhood and starts remembering names, “he recalls only names: Dante, Parnell, Clane, Clongowes. A little boy had been taught geography by an old woman who kept two brushes in her wardrobe…” (92). Not only had Dante taught Stephen geography but she also taught him about religion and morality. Dante was a defendant of morality and how people should respect the church and follow its rules. As a child, Stephen also learned these morals and now as a young adult he starts making decisions and acting in a way that Dante’s condemns.

Stephen goes to a prostitute and stays with her. Joyce describes it, “With a sudden movement she bowed his head and joined her lips to his and he read the meaning of her movements in her frank uplifted eyes. It was too much for him. He closed his eyes, surrendering himself to her, body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark pressure of her softly parting lips…” (99). After this, Stephen starts condemning himself, and this is when everything he had heard Dante said and everything he believes and hears at church start making him feel shameful and as a sinner.

Dante does not know what Stephen is going through but he could be imagined thinking about Dante seeing him as the worst of the sinners. The character of Dante is created to demonstrate a point of view about sin and how it affects everyone’s lives, opposing the believes of Mr. Casey who after knowing what Parnell had done still thinks very highly about him.

James Joyce creates the character of Dante who symbolizes part the spiritual world in the novel. Dante affects young Stephen’s mind, and she as well as the Catholic Church creates a sense of guilt in Stephen’s mind after he commits sin by being with a prostitute and giving himself up to pleasure.

Emily T 6 said...

A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man: Light

In a Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man Stephen Deadulus is a young man who is maturing throughout his young adult hood. Stephen is a young man who was brought up in a good family. Throughout out his childhood and young adulthood he begins to question and wonder about the many things life has to offer. His curiosity and knowledge of religion and politics that surround his country Ireland push him towards growing up. In the two passages on page 49 and 67 the author James Joyce suggest that the images of light refer to the emotions Stephen Deadulus is feeling throughout his maturing stages.

The first passage takes place after there is speculation that a group of boys stole the altar wine from the church. “The fellows were all silent, Stephen stood among them, afraid to speak listening.”(49) James Joyce shows Stephens hesitation to speak up for himself he is very timid around the other boys in the school. After hearing the news Stephen feels a sense of “sickness”(49) and “weak”(49). Stephen is in shock of what he is hearing because he knows that punishment will be server. Stephen is also in silent because he is questioning the actions of these boys “How could they have done that?”(49) James Joyce shows that Stephen is not a troublemaker and obeys authority. Stephen’s mind is unable to give reason to these boys’ actions. It shows that he has never been involved in such behavior. This shows that he is maturing realizing the wrong in others and recognizing the consequences that come along with a persons actions.

James Joyce offers Stephens emotions throughout his use of light. When Stephen is afraid or nervous in a situation James Joyce uses dark images to express Stephen’s emotions, “ He thought of the dark silent sacristy.”(49) Stephen sees this Holy place dark because he is scared of what really lies within the sacristy. But Stephen also sees the importance of the sacristy but the dark image represents the untouchable for him. He believes that this is a place he is not worthy of entering or destroying because it is bigger than he is as a person. “There were dark wooden presses there where the crimped surplices lay quietly folded.”(49) Joyce continues to use these dark images to represent the sacristy. This represents why Stephen questioned the boys who would have stole the wine because he sees it as something that should not be disturbed. He is showing maturity through his reaction to this event because he understands how wrong this incident is within his religion. “It was a holy place”(49) that should not be tampered with.

James Joyce also shows Stephens maturity through his fascination with a character Mercedes from The Count of Monte Cristo. “The figure of that dark avenger stood forth in his mind”, Stephen sees this avenger of unreachable or not worthy of him. Yet the passage shifts and he imagines a “bright picture of Marseilles, of sunny trellises and of Mercedes”. The “sunny” represents hope and exploration for Stephen. James Joyce is able to use progression of imagery through color. This helps to show that Stephen is maturing and becoming more interested in sexual activities. He is stepping out of his boy hood into adult hood with his a new adult imagination. This imagination is much different then Stephens past imagination it is much more mature then his childhood wonders.
He imagines him self “older and sadder, standing in a moonlit garden with Mercedes who had so many years before slighted his love.” James Joyce now shifts Stephens’s imagination to a disappointing time he was turned down by Mercedes his love but is now confronted by her again. The “moonlit” garden shows to aspects the dark of the night represents the untouchable for Stephen. He was not willing to have Mercedes the way he wished. But the light from the moon represents the hope in Stephen for Mercedes. He is hopeful for her return. Even though faced with the darkness of the night the light from the moon gives him happiness. James Joyce uses a conflict of light and darkness to show Stephens realization, which is able to show his mature thinking.

James Joyce represents Stephens’s maturity through his images of light. With his shifts from light to darkness he is able to come across new life lessons. With the wine he is able to see the horrible sin through the darkness of the light. Through Mercedes he is able to see hope, love, and new ideas of sexual activities proving that he is coming out of boyhood into adulthood.

Shuyi G 6 said...
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Shuyi G 6 said...
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Emily L 6 said...

Bird Imagery in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce conveys the maturing of the protagonist Stephen Dedalus through following his inner mind and the images of birds that appear within the novel. Portrayed along with his upbringing, the reoccurring bird motif guides the reader through Stephen’s inability to becoming free. As a young child, Stephen struggles to hold his own thoughts without being challenged by others like Dante or Heron who exists as a threat to the young Dedalus’s mind. By using the imagery of birds, it serves to portray Stephen’s vulnerability to being a free “man” as it relates to the myth of Dedalus and Icarus.

In the first scene of Chapter One, a conversation between Stephen, his mother, and Dante is portrayed. Stephen tells his mother that he hopes to marry Eileen when he grows up, but it is highly unacceptable for Dante. Within the first couple pages, Dante appears to portray a mother-like role over Stephen. Dante would “give him a cachou every time he brought her a piece of tissue paper”(21) as if she’s training him and teaching him to becoming what she wants him to become. Her actions are manipulative like an adult trying to win over a child by giving him or her candy. Because she holds strong feelings for religion, a path to becoming a true Catholic was already set up for Stephen. Dante refuses to have Stephen marry a Protestant girl and scolds him for such unconventional thoughts. To cleanse his foolishness, she threatens him to “apologise” (21). If not, “the eagles will come and pull out his eyes”(21). Eagles in the Catholic religion are a symbol of Christ. If Stephen was to marry Eileen, Dante believes that he will be punished for committing a sin of marrying their rivalry. The graphical image bothers young Stephen because he feels threatened by her religious ideologies. He repetitively recites “Pull out his eyes, Apologise, Apologise, Pull out his eyes.”(21) Stephen seems to be in fear of the threatening birds and this further impacts his life later on.

Upon his entering of college the imagery of birds occurs in his game of football. He describes the football like a “greasy leather orb [flying] like a heavy bird” (21). Eagles are also symbols of freedom for their triumphant wings and ability to fly. Eagles or birds in general are believed to be free animals, but birds are actually caged, trapped within the atmosphere. “Like a heavy bird” (21), Stephen holds a lot of weight from others who burden his thoughts, keeping him from flying away. Stephen remains unable to escape from the hostile environment, Clongowes, where his family left him. He feels strongly uncomfortable and this shows as “he kept on the fringe of his line, out of sight of his prefect” (21). Stephen wants to stand invisible and “out of the reach” (21). He represents a trapped animal because he was still young, making him vulnerable. He has no options but to listen to his seniors and remain in the trapped school. Feeling enclosed, it makes him “weak” (21). His body feels “small” (21) and “his eyes are weak and watery” (21). Birds are also renowned for their excellent eyesight. For a person to be courageous and manly, he must have the eyes of an eagle’s eye because eyes are a symbol of masculinity. Stephen has not yet reached any signs of manhood because his eyes show weakness. He remains a child.

His thoughts are once again threatened by birds when he meets Vincent Heron, a school friend. He describes their relationship as “rivals” (78) which further notes the struggle that he has with the appearances of birds, which is ultimately a reflection of his inner conflict. He has no fondness for Heron as he compares his features to a bird. “Heron had a bird’s face as a well as a bird’s name” (78). His features portrays a “mobile face, beaked like a bird’s” (78) and his “close-set prominent eyes were light and inexpressive” (78). Birds have remained a threat to Stephen since Dante’s caution and at this moment, Heron teases Stephen for his character and this confuses him. Because Stephen doesn’t smoke, Heron satirizes him by calling him a “model youth” (78) who “doesn’t smoke…doesn’t go to bazaars…doesn’t flirt… and doesn’t damn anything or damn all” (78). There is nothing wrong with not smoking, yet Stephen is bullied for who he is and Stephen is unable to do anything about it.

James Joyce’s also has a unique choice of names for the character. “Heron” (78), a bird, symbolizes the eternal struggle of the good and bad. Stephen, as a young man, doesn’t know what to believe. His mind is inexperienced and is unable to understand everything. He longs to fly away and to bear freedom from the simple life. Stephen’s character mirrors the myth of Daedelus and Icarus, where Stephen’s name Dedalus embodies the idea of flight.

Bird Imagery in A Portrait of a Young Artist remains a crucial motif in the novel. In both passage, birds exists as a foundation for Stephen’s character because the imagery of threat and escape achieves from the imagery of birds defines his inner struggle in becoming a free man. Stephen seeks for freedom as a result of being trapped within a closed environment where he is too vulnerable to break free from. Because of his connection with bird imagery, it helps the reader to understand his character in the novel as well as his desired path which may be foreshadowed by the myth of Daedelus and Icarus.

Ping L 6 said...

Darkness

James Joyce uses darkness as a symbol of maturity and happiness in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. When a person is mature, he or she is able to make the right decision. When a person is happy, he or she is able to show it through his or her actions and speech. Throughout the novel, Stephen proves the relationship between darkness and maturity and happiness. James Joyce uses many different literary techniques: imagery, diction, time reference, repetition, setting, and contradiction.

Father Dolan punishes Stephen for not writing his theme during his Latin lesson. The reason Stephen does not write his theme is that he has broken his eyeglasses and so, he is not able to read and write with accuracy. He is exempted from doing the work with the permission of Father Arnall, his Latin teacher. However, he is still punished. As a result of such unfairness, he decides to go to the rector of the school to report to him about it.

In order to get to the rector’s room, he must wait until “the dinner was over” (60) and “walk fast up the staircase and [through] the low dark narrow corridor that led through the castle” (60). Dinner is when people eat at night; the time period resembles darkness because it is dark at night. The narrow corridor resembles darkness because it is dimly lit. The repeated usage of the words related to darkness creates fear in Stephen. Stephen uses triple the times to walk through the corridor than it supposed to be because he is afraid. The setting during which these events are taking place shows the relationship between darkness and these events.

Before entering the corridor, he thinks about all the positive and negative outcomes that would occur as a result of his meeting with the rector. He thinks that “the rector [might] side with the perfect of studies and think [that] it was a schoolboy trick [and that as a result] the prefect of studies would come in every day [to punish him because] he would be dreadfully waxy at any fellow going up to the rector about him” (61). The word waxy is used to describe the physically mature prefect of studies. Normally, adults do not get waxy over things as often as children do. However, the unjust perfect of studies is shown to be like a child. Stephen thinks that since “the fellows [who encourage] him to go would not go themselves, they [might have] forgotten all about it. [If this is true, it would be] best to hide out of the way because [he was] small and young [so he might be able to] escape” (61) the perfect of studies. The people who encourage him to go but do not go to the rector because they are afraid and they are only children. Stephen thinks that he might be able to escape the perfect of studies if he pretends that nothing has happened. However, by being able to think so much all at once and to able to make a right decision in the end, Stephen shows that he is mature.
His decision in meeting with the rector has a positive result; the rector promises that he “will speak to Father Dolan [and that he would] excuse [Stephen] from his lessons for a few days” (61). This makes Stephen feeling happy and so he “walks faster and faster excitedly” (62). It takes three pages of reading in order for Stephen to get to the rector’s room. However, it only takes up a third of a page of reading for Stephen to come out from the rector’s room. This is significant because it shows how dreary and slow it is for Stephen to go into the rector’s room and how quick, simple, and joyful it is for him to come back out.

At Cork, Stephen “pored over a ragged translation of The Count of Monte Cristo [in the] evenings” (67) whenever he has free time. Just like any adult or a curious youth in the process of growing up, he relaxes himself by reading things he like, but not necessarily helpful. He thinks about “the figure of the dark avenger for whatever he had heard or divined in childhood of the strange and terrible” (67). Sometimes, Stephen would “build up on the parlour table an image of the wonderful island cave out of transfers and paper flowers and coloured tissue paper and strips of the silver and golden paper in which chocolate is wrapped” (67). As a child, Stephen often thinks of something strange and terrible as being a dark figure. A cave should be dark and has earthly colors. If Stephen is still immature in his thinking, he would build a cave with something else other than colorful papers he saved because he would have thought that the cave is terrible. Such contradiction between his belief as a child and his belief during the night shows that Stephen has undergone maturity. After “breaking up the scenery” (67), he would come to think about “the bright picture of Marseilles, of sunny trellises and of Mercedes” (67). The cave is symbolic of his growth. After breaking it up, it would have nothing more to think about except for Mercedes.

Frequently, when we encounter the word, darkness, we associate it with something negative. Loneliness and fear are often connected to the word, darkness. However, in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the association is positive. James Joyce creates a new meaning to the word; darkness is a resemblance to maturity and happiness.

Shuyi G 6 said...

Shuyi Guo
Portrait in a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the author James Joyce suggests that Stephen Dedalus is maturing while building a confused state of mind. Stephen’s maturity grows from loving for his mother to hoping to fall in love with Mercedes. His chaotic mind establishes as he ironically dislikes his mother’s crying, rejects Mercedes’ offer and lacks the ability to kiss the prostitute back. Joyce, through the use of imagination and diction expresses that the idea that Stephen grows to be mature but at the same time suffers from his ambivalent state of mind.

In Chapter 1, Stephen secretly builds an unutterable feeling for his mother. He is naive that he thinks it wouldn’t be a problem for liking his mother. And he is especially fascinated by his mother’s kiss. In Chongowes, Stephen recalls his mother’s kiss, “she had put up her veil double to her nose to kiss him. [Stephen]” (22) His mother’s putting up the veil symbolizes the breakage of the barrier for Stephen getting close to his mother or loving his mother. Stephen now is relieved to be kissed by his mother; he feels no guilt for possessing his mother’s love. Stephen, for that moment, pretends to be the lover of his mother that he thinks “She’s a nice mother”(22) as a man considers the breeding and raising skill of his half.

For his mother’s kiss, Stephen describes that it is “so soft”(27) and her lips “wetted his cheek”(27). Stephen’s enjoyment of his mother’s kiss in fact reveals Stephen’s addiction to his mother. The word “so soft” tells Stephen’s belief in his mother’s kindness and caring. Stephen is always bogged down to his mother because he finds comfort only in his mother and he is afraid that he would to be hurt by others. Stephen is indeed scared of the world. He does not want to interact with others and he is rather alone. He convinces his mind that he’s alone by writing “Stephen Dedalus/ Class of Elements/ Clongowes Wood College/ Sallins/ County Kildare/ Ireland/ Europe/ The world/ The universe”. (28) Stephen sets himself to be the center focus of the world, but alone. He also separates himself from others when he watches the kids playing instead of joining himself, he was “out of sight of his prefect, out of the reach of the rude feet”.(21) All the isolations Stephen has created relies on the reason that he feels vulnerable among others; he feels “small and weak amid the throng of players”(21) or others. When Stephen is sick, he thinks of his mother that he writes a letter to her saying severely, “Please come and take me home…Your fond son, Stephen” (34) and sings only for his mother “farewell, my mother!” (35) Joyce develops a vigorous need for Stephen to have her mother, while revealing Stephen’s secret love for her.

Continuing recalling his mother’s kiss, Stephen describes her mother’s nose and eyes are “red” from crying. (22) The color “Red” symbolizes Stephen’s passion for loving his mother. Stephen doesn’t wishes at all to leave his mother that he rather not go to school. Despite Stephen’s passionate love toward his mother, he “pretends not to see that she was going to cry” (22). The word “pretends” reveals Stephen to be conservative. He does not want to expose his love to his mother even though his astonishing love for her. He is confusing for his position in the family- the son of his mother or the lover of his mother. Stephen is confusing because he hopes to be lover of his mother more. Joyce uses the memory of Stephen of his mother’s kiss to express the immoral love Stephen has for his mother while highlights Stephen’s agitated state of mind.

In Chapter 2, Stephen eventually stops developing his love for mother. He moves his focus on Mercedes, who is an attractive character in the novel “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Stephen’s imagination of falling in love with her reveals his growth of immorality and maturtity. He dreams that he is “standing in a moonlit garden with Mercedes” (67), enjoying the romance with her. Stephen emphasizes the importance of his identity by choosing to fall in love with the attractive Mercedes. He pretends he is match with her, who is loved by two men in the novel. Stephen then imagines himself growing “older and sadder”. “Older” reveals Stephen’s consciousness toward sexuality is escalating. He finds himself to be old enough to be with Mercedes. However, he feels “sadder”, which reveals he’s also guilty of loving Mercesdes at a young age. Stephen therefore, develops his ambivalent mind, which also makes Stephen to reject Mercedes at the end by saying “Madam, I never eat muscatel grapes.” (67) Joyce attempts, through Stephen’s strange and sudden imaginations of being with Mercedes, reveals Stephen’s growth in maturity but consistence of the same state of confusing mind.

Stephen, in “a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”, vehemently loves his mother at first, thinking she’s the only person who can give him comfort in the world and who also makes him to feel guilty of loving. He transfers his move to an attractive character Mercedes, who he is proud to fall in love with, but who he ultimately oddly rejects. From all the love and agitation Stephen has for both his mother and Mercedes, Joyce reveal the irony both him and Stephen sees in the world. And he expresses his idea through the use of imagination and diction.

Jessica S. 6 said...

Roses/Red from a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce is the story of the development of Stephen Daedalus mind. Joyce uses the style call a stream of consciousness to directly portray the thoughts and sensations that goes through a character's mind, rather than describing it from a stand point of an observer. So in Stephen’s developmental process, James Joyce suggests in the passages on page 25 and 97 that Stephen is gaining experience through the meaning of the symbols and the imagery of the color red and roses.
In the beginning of the first chapter of the book when Stephen is in class, it was the hours for sums. This was a competition between the York and Lancaster where the York wore the red roses and the Lancaster wore the white roses. Joyce describes the roses as a symbol of being enticing, teasing and appealing because “the little silk badge with the white rose on it that was pinned on the breast of his jacket began to flutter”(25). And the White rose also stands for Stephen. Joyce chooses to place the color of the rose white for Stephen because white usually means purity. Stephen is still young and innocent. So Joyce places the red rose on the opposing team of Stephen which is the Lancaster’s. The color red on the rose is very appealing not only is it the opposite of white but the color draws much attention and have many different meaning to it. The color red can mean love, passion, seduction, or the devil. Joyce describes it as “the little silk badge with the red rose on it looked very rich” (25). Basically in this passage Stephen tries very hard to complete the sum before Lawton does until his he “felt his own face red too, thinking of all the bets about who would get first place in elements, Jack Lawton of he”(25). Stephen wants to win the competition until his own face turns red which red in this case means embarrass and frustration because he’s not winning and he can’t figure out the problem. It also stands for Jack Lawton because he is Stephens’s rival. But the symbol rose and the color red symbolizes Stephen development in experience is because through this event “his white silk badge fluttered and fluttered as he worked at the next sum” (25). In a sense he is losing his innocence because he wants to win and the red rose is luring him. These symbols represent him gaining experience of being competitive.
On page 97 in Chapter Two, James Joyce describes Stephen’s wandering around the streets where he stays for the night with the prostitute. During his wandering Stephen’s conscious drifts to the thought of seeing Mercedes where he saw “the small white house and the garden of the rosebush”. In this quote the rose represents a woman; usually a rose is associated with a woman’s beauty. When he see any woman, rose is always brought up. The beauty of the rose or woman attracts him, like wanting a woman. Then he thinks at that moment “the soft speeches of Claude Melnotte rose to his lips and eased his unrest”(97). Stephen associates his lust and desire for a woman to Claude Melnotte, a hero of The Lady of Lyons. But the symbol rose is used in a different term where it means to gain experience. In this case he wants to complete his desire and lust for a woman.
So in Stephen’s developmental process, James Joyce suggests in the passages on page 25 and 97 that Stephen is gaining experience through the meaning of the symbols and the imagery of the color red and roses which has many different meanings and interpretations to it.

Elina R 6 said...
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Elina R 6 said...
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Elina R 6 said...

The Myth of Dedalus and Icarus in The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce writes a story based on the bildungsroman of Stephen Dedalus. He begins the novel when Stephen is a toddler and uses the mindset of a two year old to describe Stephen’s surroundings. As he becomes older, Joyce begins to write in a more advanced manner in order to create the effect that Stephen’s mindset is maturing with his age. Throughout the novel Joyce also creates allusions to “The Myth of Dedalus and Icarus” to show Stephen’s resemblance to the characters in the myth. With the use of language and similar examples, Joyce is able to create a parallel world between Stephen and Dedalus as well as Stephen and Icarus. By alluding to both of these characters, Joyce exposes the reader to Stephen’s coming of age.

On the same page on which the first chapter begins, Joyce makes a reference to “The Myth of Dedalus and Icarus” by quoting, “And he applies his mind to unknown arts”(20) in Latin. James Joyce immediately crates an allusion to the myth by using this quotation because it is describing the Dedalus in the myth. He was an inventor who challenged the laws of nature by crating wings and making a human fly. Joyce alludes to this mythical character because of the similarities that exist between him and his own character, Stephen Dedalus. Although there is a continuation to the quotation, which reads, “and changes the laws of nature” (20), Joyce doesn’t use it. Since the first chapter is told in the point of view of a toddler, it makes sense that Joyce would only use the first part of the quotation. As a two-year old, Stephen Dedalus is just using his mind to explore, understand, and connect his surroundings. Joyce exposes that reader to only the first part of the quotation to suggest that Stephen is gathering information from his early environment that will eventually allow him to live up to the second part of the quotation. Joyce is foreshadowing that the now two-year old will eventually be old enough to use his knowledge to “challenge nature”.

The chapter then continues with Stephen’s description of his surroundings as he views them from his two-year old body. He is with his father and mother who are singing him songs and dancing. Stephen mentions his uncle and their acquaintances as he remembers them. Then, all of a sudden Joyce’s writing becomes more concrete and comprehensible suggesting that time has passed. Stephen is now in school and where one of his schoolmates approaches him and says, “What is you name? Stephen answered: Stephen Dedalus” (22). This is the first time Stephens full name is reveled. Once again Joyce alludes to the myth by naming his main character Dedalus, which means “clever artificer” (22). James Joyce suggests that his main character will grow up to be someone advanced and superior to others, just like Dedalus is in the myth because of his knowledge. It is ironic that Joyce allows the revelation of his main character’s name to occur on the grounds of an educational center. This also suggests that it is there where he will make himself known, and there where he will gain the knowledge to become more advanced than his peers.

After a moment of encountering a boy how makes a mean comment, Stephen remembers that point at which he was forced to say goodbye to his parents. He recalls, “His mother had told him not to speak with the rough boys in the college. Nice mother!” (22). Although Stephen was given advice by his mother, he was never told the reasons for her words. Joyce again alludes to the myth by recreating a parallel occasion to that of Dedalus giving his son advice. He tells Icarus not too fly too high and not to fly too low, but never gives him a reason for his words. Both Icarus and Stephen are told to be cautious, but since neither one if given reason for their precautions, they both do what they are told not to. Icarus ends up flying too high causing his wings to melt resulting in his downfall. Stephen encounters the “rough boys” at school and witnesses their mean comments. Stephen then says “Nice mother!” in a tone that suggests that he is being sarcastic. He realizes that if his mother had given him greater reasons, then he would’ve truly avoided the “rough boys”. Joyce creates an allusion between Stephen and Icarus in order to show Stephens’ immaturity and innocence. The two characters are young and inexperienced and are being driven by their curiosity.

As the story unravels in chapter one, the reader witnesses Stephen’s coming of age. He begins to feel mixed emotions and temptations while still feeling the need to be a gentleman and a good son of God. For the first time, Stephen recognizes the touch of a woman as being gentle and soft. He lets his imagination take him into adventures in which he pretends to be a man of power with a beautiful lover. Joyce’s language becomes more and more advanced suggesting that Stephen’s coming of age is occurring while still alluding to “The Myth of Dedalus and Icarus”.

In chapter two, while attending Belvedere College, Stephen Dedalus takes part in a Whitsuntide play, which is about a celebration that occurs on the seventh Sunday after Easter. This section opens up with him observing everyone arrive and his playmates getting ready. At one point, “A movement of impatience escaped him. He let the edge of the blind fall and, stepping down from the bench on which he had been standing, walked out of the chapel” (77). In this small portion James Joyce alludes to the myth of Dedalus and Icarus by creating similarities between his characters and those of the myth. At this moment, in which Stephen becomes “impatient” and leaves, Joyce is recreating the character Icarus by having his character portray similar attitudes. In the myth, Icarus becomes very impatient and, although his father gives him strict directions, Icarus goes off and is carried away by his verdant desires. Stephen and Icarus are both immature boys who are constantly taken over by a rush of emotions that leads them to act in unwanted manners. By creating an allusion between these two characters, James Joyce suggests that Stephen’s immaturity and desires to do greater things are similar to those of Icarus. Stephen is reaching a point in which he wants to grow up and even sees his classmates as younger than him because he thinks his maturity level is greater. Just like Icarus, Stephen wants more than he can handle because of the urgency he has to grow up and do what he wants.

As Stephen Dedalus is sitting outside of the schoolhouse, he suddenly becomes aware of a distinct odor. He then recognizes his two schoolmates who happen to be smoking in a doorway. They recognize him as he approaches them and begin to taunt him. First they ask him to imitate the rector but at his refusal they begin to tease him for not smoking. “No, said Heron, Dedalus is a model youth. He doesn’t smoke and he doesn’t go to bazaars and he doesn’t flirt and he doesn’t damn anything or damn all” (78). Stephen then says, “ He had often thought it strange that Vincent Heron had a bird’s face as well as a bird’s name” (78). Joyce uses Heron as a representation of the Perdix from the myth of Dedalus and Icarus. In the myth, the Perdix is Dedalus’ nephew who he happened to kill. Dedalus becomes jealous of him because he was becoming advanced, so he killed him. At the Icarus’ funeral, the Perdix reappears and makes obnoxious noises and disturbs the own funeral in order to make Dedalus feel guilty for what he had done. In the novel, Heron taunts Stephen about his new love interest because he wants to make him feel guilty for his sinful feelings. In the quotation where Heron accuses Stephen of never doing anything, his tone changes as he delivers his words. Joyce has Heron use the word “damn” towards the end to show the increase in intensity in his tone. Heron is tired of everyone seeing Stephen as a little saint boy so he taunts him for his feelings in order to make him feel like for the first time he has actually done something wrong. In the myth, the Perdix also makes obnoxious noises to reveal his disapproval of Dedalus’ image of the good inventor who was kid enough to “teach” his nephew about inventions. James Joyce crates this allusion between the Perdix and Heron in order to show how they are both accusing the two Dedalus’ of being something they are not. Joyce does this as a way to foreshadow the up coming events. He shows how everyone views Stephen as a good boy, but eventually his emotions carry him away and he becomes involved with a prostitute. In a way, Stephen once again resembles Icarus who gets carried away by the excitement of flying and flies too high. Joyce is crating an allusion between Stephen and Dedalus as well as Stephen and Dedalus.

After the Willis and Heron suggest that Mr. Dedalus might already know about Stephens’ emotions for the girl, he once again goes into a stage of rushed emotions. He realizes that to him “there was nothing amusing in a girl’s interest and regard…the growth of knowledge of two years of boyhood stood in between then and now (79). Once again, Stephen feels that there exists a maturity difference between him and his schoolmates. In the myth, Icarus feels like he is old enough and responsible enough to fly and make his own decisions. Stephen realizes that his schoolmates’ behavior is childish and that he is different from them. Both Stephen and Icarus feel the need to grow, have independence, and separate themselves from their realities. In consequence, Stephen feels like “the painted little boy had drawn from him a movement of impatience” (79). Stephen is constantly being invaded by these mixed feeling that suggest that he will do something unexpected, but doesn’t. Like in the myth, when Icarus is flying, he is invaded with a feeling to fly higher, even though his father tells him not to. However, Icarus listens to his feeling and eventually dies for flying too high. Joyce continues to make an allusion to the myth suggesting the like Icarus, Stephen will eventually listen to his feeling and cause his own downfall. The allusion Joyce creates between these two characters allow the reader understand Stephens’ “impatience” to do something greater and unexpected.

Throughout the book, James Joyce alludes to “The Myth of Dedalus and Icarus” in order to show the reader the various similarities that exist between characters. By doing so, the reader can associate Icarus’ impatience to be independent and older with that of Stephen’s. By alluding to the myth, Joyce is able to show Stephen’s coming of age while referring to his cleverness as an artist.

Simon M 6 said...

Apollo in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man, James Joyce portrays Stephen with characteristics of the god Apollo. Apollo is the ideal of the beardless youth. He is the god many matters such as truth and poetry. Truth enables Stephen to experience both the good and the bad consequences. Stephen is able to express himself freely through poetry and languages. Also, to freely express oneself, truthfulness is usually implied. Joyce suggests that these themes aid Stephen’s growth.

In chapter one Stephen experiences the results of honesty. During class, Father Dolan walks in and pandies Stephen for not having his glasses. Stephen honestly says, “I broke my glasses, sir” (62), yet Dolan still punishes him. Here, Stephen tells the truth and is punished for it because Dolan thinks that it is a lie. This may cause dishonesty to grow within him further in the book. Stephen may constantly be punished for honesty, and turn to lies due to frustration. The breaking of glasses also symbolizes the loss of light, which Apollo is also the god of. Light represents truth and purity. Without light, there is bound to be darkness, and darkness implies evil. Stephen does not like the darkness and its consequences.

However, the rewards of truth come into play when Stephen consults the rector. When glasses are broken, students have to “write home for a new pair” (63). A new pair implies the reestablishment of light and truth. With glasses, most honest answers to prefects will pass through without punishment. “Stephen swallowed down the thing again and tried to keep his legs and voice from shaking” (63). He is afraid of humiliation by telling the truth again. However, this time the rector understands and Stephen is “quite right” (63). The punishment earlier in class was because “Father Dolan did not understand” (63). This justifies part of Stephen’s thoughts towards telling the truth. When he comes out, a party of supporters “made a cradle of their locked and hoisted him up among them and carried him and till he struggled to get free” (64). Stephen learns that telling the truth is good and brings overwhelming joy. Joyce implies that through this experience, Stephen learns the rewards of honesty. Thus, Stephen will stay an honest man longer.

Joyce portrays Stephen as a beardless youth. Apollo, symbolizing the ideal beardless youth, can be seen through Stephen. Joyce turns Stephen into a model for others to follow: someone truthful, brave, and young.

Stephen indulges himself his true feelings within literature and poetry. When he starts to write a poem, “all those elements which he deemed common and insignificant fell out of the scene” (74). Writing poetry entrances him, and his true feelings fall and transform into words on the notebook. Stephen tried to write a poem about Parnell’s death, but “his brain had then refused to grapple with the theme” (74). Off topic, his thoughts flow freely out of him: “There remained no trace of the tram itself nor the trammen nor of the horses; nor did he and she appear vividly” (74). Love begins to fill his adolescent mind with thoughts of girls and kisses. Not able to express feelings in reality, “some undefined sorrow was hidden in the hearts of the protagonists” (74). Yet, Stephen is allowed to freely express himself, the truth, in writing.

When Stephen begins to write his poem, he begins by writing “the initial letters of the jesuit motto: A.M.D.G” (73). It is “from force of habit” (73). He also writes the letters L.D.S. at the foot of the page. Stephen blindly believes in his religion as a given, otherwise true. Earlier in the novel, because Stephen believes what he is told, he condemns his relationship with Eileen. He is scared by the poem Dante reads to him, and shuts himself. This leads to his suppression of his true feelings from the world around him. Broken glasses also link to this. Without glasses, a person is somewhat blind and therefore is less able to differentiate between what is honestly true and what is false. No glasses imply less light, and thus there is less purity and innocence. Stephen is less pure when he seals his true feelings within himself.

Writing allows Stephen to feel free and express his true feelings. Stephen should be able to defend himself against false accusations. He is also able to exert any anger from them in writing. Apollo’s characteristics are seen through the slow development of Stephen to become more open with the world. Joyce integrates Apollo into Stephen’s actions to help pave the road of Stephen’s growth.

Son N. 6 said...

Dante – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the author James Joyce creates the character Dante Riordan, a religious and faithful woman who seems to be an influence to Stephen during his childhood life. During Stephen’s childhood, Dante is seemed to be an important figure for she is the representation of the church and the opposing force of the Parnell campaign. Dante seems to possess a fire burning within her that allows her to continue having faith and being able to defend her church. Dante is faithful to her Catholic church and believes that if anyone disobeys the church’s order they are making a mistake or worse, committing a sin.

In one passage, Stephen wonders about Dante and notices everything she would do. For one, “when Dante made that noise after dinner and then put up her hand to her mouth: that was heartburn” (28). James Joyce includes the word “heartburn,” but what if this heart burn was her fiery passion for her religion. The passion she possesses for her religion symbolizes how strong she believes in the Catholic Church. When Stephen was a child, he had a crush on a Protestant girl, Eileen and once she found out along with his mother he must apologize or “if not, the eagles will come and pull out his eyes” (28). Since Dante was Catholic, she believes that Catholic should only be able to marry other faithful Catholics, so she does not allow Stephen to indulge himself with a Protestant girl. Dante’s strong faith towards her religion marks the beginning of Stephens’s development stage.

It is also through Dante that Stephen possesses all this knowledge of land, “She had taught him where the Mozambique Channel was and what was the longest river in America and what was the name of the highest mountain in the moon” (28). James Joyce uses the character Dante as a reference to land and possessing all this knowledge of the land seems to relate Dante with Dante Alighieri, from Inferno. In Inferno, Dante Alighieri possesses much knowledge of Hell and land because he journeys through Limbo and Hell in order to enter Heaven. Dante can compare to Dante Alighieri because he is also someone who honors his Catholic Church and defends his beliefs. By relating the two, Dante can be symbolized as Stephen’s salvation if he had committed a horrible sin.

In another passage, Stephen is finally home for his first Christmas dinner with the family. It is his first time sitting at the adult table and he is to witness, Dante and Mr Casey argues about religion and politics. Dante along with her “heartburn” for her belief ends up defending herself and her religion in what seems to be a battle against Mr Casey and politics.

-“I’ll pay you you dues, father, when you cease turning the house of God into a pollingbooth.”
-“A nice answer, said Dante, for any man calling himself a catholic to give to his priest.”
(41). Along with every argument Mr Dedalus and Mr Casey has to offer, Dante offers a counterattack. She sticks by her religion and understands that “a priest would not be a priest if he did not tell his flock what is right and what is wrong” (41). Dante believes that what her religion tells her, it is the correct answer whether it is right or wrong. By sticking to her belief she is able to triumph over the dinner table and have the last comment, “Devil out of hell! We won! We crushed him to death! Fiend!” (48).

Dante is not only knowledgeable but seem to possess a quite amount of power that can be viewed as an independent woman today. She is able to stick up for herself, while two men are attacking her with the subject of politics. Dante believes there isn’t anything that should go against the Church for it is an immoral sin. By going against the Catholic Church, she believes is going against God. This influences Stephen most during his childhood to his adolescent life. He is mystified by the meaning of religion and thus creates deep thoughts about what it really means to him.

In the end, Dante is created for the sole purpose as what seems to be Stephen’s consciousness. When Stephen sins, he thinks about Dante and he wonders how he would face Dante with this subject. He feels ashamed and believes he created a moral error that would break him from his religion. Stephen sins become his guilt and this guilt becomes his conscious towards Dante. To Stephen, he believes that by sinning, his sins will never replenish because his guilt still remains in his consciousness.

Dante is created in the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, in the sole purpose to serve Stephen’s way of thinking and how he develops into a man. She also serves spiritual power and background of the family and becomes Stephen’s conscious. Lastly, Dante believes that if one against the Catholic Church, one is against the almighty God.

Linda Y 6 said...

Fire in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

The use of fire depends on how humans manipulate it. Fire can bring warmth and comfort to humans, light to the darkness, but also the ability to destroy. It can help humans to survive depending on how they control it, which is one of man's greatest discoveries. When giving light, the fire represents revealing a certain truth or maybe a certain time where there is no more confusion from the darkness; purity in a way. The colors that make up fire are red, orange, yellow, and sometimes blue which can symbolize anger or rage. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce uses the motif fire to represent comfort and happiness after Stephen Dedalus's distress from chapter one and two.

Fire is first revealed in chapter one after Stephen plays a ball game with the other students at Clongowes. He rests in front of a fire to study and reflect on the game. Joyce describes, "It would be nice to lie on the hearthrug before the fire, leaning his head upon his hands, and think on those sentences…" (23). Stephen looks for comfort whenever fire is around him. He needs the warmth after feeling that he had, "cold slimy water next his skin," (23). Fire can also be used to dry off something by applying heat. By drying off the cold and slimy water from his body, it provides a way of comfort for Stephen. Also, the fact that Stephen contemplates about his game with the other boys in front of a fire symbolizes a light upon his thoughts. James Joyce uses fire to reveal the hidden thoughts of Stephen's emotions and worries.

Also in the same passage, fire can represent warmth yet also can cause pain. When Stephen thinks about being in a comfortable situation, he reveals, "Mother was sitting at the fire with Dante waiting for Brigid to bring in the tea. She had her feet on the fender and her jewlly slipper were so hot and they had such a lovely warm smell!" (24). James Joyce uses an excess of imagery to make a better setting for Stephen's mother and Dante. The mother is supposed to some for comfort and the fire adds to the environment of a caring and heavenly mother. Being at a place with a warm fire going allows Stephen to become more relaxed and into his thoughts. In addition the imagery also conveys a home-like setting that Stephen thinks of whenever he's homesick. Strangely in the next part, Joyce writes, "…that Dante was a clever woman and wellread woman. And when Dante made that noise after dinner and then put up her hand to her mouth: that was heartburn," (24). Ironically although fire is revealed as a comforting situation for characters to finally relax, Dante ends up with heartburn. Even though heartburn is not exactly made up of flames, it has a burning sensation that pains the heart. Joyce seems to be setting a standard that fire not only comforts people but can also cause them pain. Fire can either create or destroy and James Joyce manipulates with symbols to do so.

In the second chapter, fire takes the same symbol but also foreshadows misfortunate events by not being able to appear. Joyce writes, "The parlour fire would not draw that evening and Mr. Dedalus rested the poker against the bars of the grate to attract the flame," (69). In this certain situation, the Dedalus family suffers from a financial situation. The fact that the fire would not start up is because it might foreshadow something even more misfortune than the financial situation. The lack of fire represents Stephen's soon to be lack of confidence in his self-esteem and his reliance on his father. For example, when the play in the next section of the chapter, Stephen walks out on his family after feeling much distress. His self-esteem is burning up and he cannot regain it. Once the fire has burned up something, there are no remains except ashes.

The disappearing fire in the second chapter symbolizes a struggle to keep happiness. Mr. Dedalus says, "There's a crack of the whip left in me yet, Stephen, old chap…poking at the dull fire with fierce energy. We're not dead yet, sonny. No, by the Lord Jesus…nor half dead," (70). Mr. Dedauls's action of poking the fire shows that he wants to recover and regain the strength. Since fire represents comfort and happiness, Stephen's father is trying to revive his son's growing distance. Mr. Dedalus still gives in effort to connecting with Stephen, but James Joyce uses fire as a sign of happiness for Stephen. The adjective "fierce" shows that Mr. Dedalus is desperate to recover that connection and bring joy back into his son and his family even though they are suffering a financial loss.

Also in the same second passage, Joyce again uses fire as a comforting situation for Stephen. He writes, "The firelight flickered on the wall and beyond the window a spectral dusk was gathering upon the river. Before the fire an old woman was busy making tea and, as she bustled at her task, she told in a low voice of what the priest and the doctor had said," (71). James Joyce uses imagery to once again create a comforting and home-like situation. A woman making tea has a positive appearance, as the tea is to soothe a person. The use of fire adds to the overall mood and setting of the passage. The woman is at peace making tea.

Although fire burns and destroys, fire can also represent an expression of happiness. James Joyce uses the language of imagery to create a certain setting to comfort Stephen or other characters. Whenever Stephen has the thought of comfort after confronting a problem, the situation always involves fire. Fire can convey happiness, yet it can eliminate all the remains of the happiness through burning. Heat interprets as a way to give warmth and joy to a situation but also does the opposite.

Amy H 6 said...
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Amy H 6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy H 6 said...

Conflicting emotions with religious values


In the passages on the pages 53 and 72-73 in A Portraits of the Artist as a Young Man, the author James Joyce suggests to his readers that natural emotions, such as lust and curiousness tend to override religious beliefs and morals.

In the passage on page 53, Athy, a student with Stephen, goes to talk with his fellow peers about two boys, who also attended the Catholic school, that they were caught “smugging” (some type of homosexual act) (50). Joyce’s purpose for creating a passage like this one was to show his readers the powerful emotion of curiosity. The two boys, who were smugging, knew what they were doing was against the Catholic faith, but their curiousness and wondering emotions override their Catholic morals. Also, the fact that the boys were smugging inside a Catholic school bathroom is also significant. The boys believed that they could get away with the smugging because they were in a bathroom and believed nobody was able to see what they were doing, but they were wrong. The priest came and saw what they had done. I believe the interruption of the priest is significant because the boys were engrossed in their activity and then the priest comes. Just like that, the priest comes and ends everything the boys had been doing. And even if eyes weren't able to see did what they had done, god would be able see and condemn their actions, which I interrupted as one of Joyce's purpose. Furthermore, I believed that the boys knew that god's eye was on them, but the boys didn't care because they wanted to satisfy their curiosity before thinking their faith. Furthermore, the tone Joyce uses is so erupt and choppy. This tone is significant because I believe Joyce wanted to show his readers the power that the priest had. Just one glimpse of the priest sent the boys running. Joyce uses the word running (scut) because when one hears the word running, she or he interrupts it as running away from reality or from morals, life, or fear. Running also can be interrupt as running away from one's morals, which was what the two boys had done.

Athy then talks to his peers about how the priest would punish the two guys who were smugging. He imagines the priest would order one of the boys to “drop his breeches” (53). He jokes around with his peers about this matter, even though it is a homosexual thought for Athy to imagine the two boys to drop their pants, which I believe is one of Joyce’s purpose. But Athy doesn’t take notice of what he is joking about; he finds the humor thinking about the boys’ punishment and doesn’t think about the punishment god might give him for thinking such thoughts. Furthermore, what is even more of a homosexual act is when Stephen imagines the preacher giving the punishments to the boys. He imagines the boys undressing themselves and wondered who would let down the trousers, the master or the boys themselves (53). Joyce’s imagery used in the text allows the reader to believe that even though Stephen is Catholic, he is capable of homosexual thoughts like these. And despite the fact that Stephen was born and raised with strict Catholic rules, Stephen is still capable of sinful thoughts, because it is only natural for a young boy to explore his sexual desires. Stephen sexual thoughts do not stop though, but continues onto the next paragraph. The word choice Joyce continues to use holds much significance. Stephen is so intrigued about how the punishment will be like that he looks at Athy’s “Knuckly inky hands” (53). Joyce goes into description of Athy’s hands to stress the innocence in Stephen. Also, the word “hands” (53) Joyce chooses to use I find interesting. “Hands” I believe usually symbolize curiosity. They are the only part of the body that has the capability to explore so much compare to other body parts. Hands are able to feel, touch, hold, and much more compare to something like the foot, just like Stephen’s mind. Concluding in why I believe Joyce choose the word he did.

The other passage I choose conflicting religion and natural emotions takes place

on page 73. Stephen is testing his innocence when he sees was woman that draws him in. Joyce’s use of imagery instills the reader to believe that Stephen is overcome with lust and nothing can stop him from lusting, despite his religious views. Stephen’s views on religion become rather “false and trivial” (72), after thinking about the lady he sees. Another example of how Joyce was able to captivate his readers’ mind was when Stephen had sexual temptations for the lady. Stephen mind does not automatically think of the temptation as sinful, but rather a longing he yearned for. Lust, the subject Joyce chooses to use on Stephen is interesting because lust happens to be one of the “deadly” 7 sins. And for someone young like Stephen to commit a deadly sin is lost innocence, proving that sin will sometimes override religious values or morals.

Also, the word choice that Joyce chooses to use in the passage on page 73 is very meaningful. “Her fine dress and sash and long black stocking” (73), they way Joyce describes the woman Stephen is looking at is depth alone. Stephen does not just glance at the women, but he takes a longer look, noticing what she is wearing. He notices that the woman is wearing a “fine dress”, interesting word choice on Joyce’s part; because dress is usually seem as a scandalous item of clothing often wear to parties and other mature places. Joyce also uses the words “long black”, to describe the stockings the woman is wearing. Stocking is also another scandalous item of clothing. When one thinks of stockings, she or he usually think of the clear, thin, and high item of clothing extending all the way to the thighs. Stockings expose skin, and causing wandering eyes of young men like Stephen to look because it is natural to want to look. Also, the stockings were black. Black is usually sought as something evil and dark, Joyce’s hidden way of portraying the way Stephen’s mind thinks.

Even though Step is not supposed to think about homosexual ideas or lustful thoughts, he can’t help himself because he is a young boy stumbling to find truth and understand life. Though Stephen was brought up with strict religious beliefs and even attended a Catholic school, learning religion does not cover his indulgence for wanting to explore sinful thoughts, despite all that he learned about his religion.

Alexander A.6 said...

Politics in The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


In Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the character of Stephen Dedalus has experiences in politics that form from childhood and later encounters in his life in a more surreal setting. At boyhood, Stephen’s relatives use politics as a dividing point in his family a division he would see more and more often. His connection with politics causes concern and the struggle that Ireland goes through is paralleled to Stephen’s struggle of growing up. Joyce displays these qualities by using debate and allusion as to what is really wrong with the state of things and how people can change the world.


In the passage on page 28-29 Joyce uses the amazement of God in the eyes of others to solidify the connection between politics and religion. He points out that the over abundance of thinking in the books of religion and logic cause others to think about politics. “It made him very tired to think that way. It made him feel his head very big. He turned over the flyleaf and looked wearily at the green round earth in the middle of the maroon clouds. He wondered which was right, to be for the green or for the maroon,” the struggle that comes from comprehending such larger scale topics leads to great divide. Uncle Charles believes that Parnell was a great man and Aunt Dante believes that Parnell was a very bad man. The news of Parnell’s death makes Stephen see the unity of parties as he dreams of Dante’s blending of colors for the funeral of Parnell. The death of Parnell signifies a revival in politics and political beliefs in Ireland, however Stephen still finds this topic difficult to comprehend and much like other people in reality do not want to comprehend the use of time to believe something that is interpreted differently by everyone.


In contrast to the death of Parnell, there is dividing amongst the family as to politics being a saving of morality. It is believed by Charles that Parnell was to save Ireland from imperialist rule, his death never made this become so. On pg. 41 Mr. Deadalus asks Dante if we go to church to, “preach politics from the altar, is it?” This is said to emphasize the importance of religion as it applies to Ireland. To Stephen, the struggle of religion and politics causes Stephen to realize the struggle of growing up. After his night with the prostitute he struggles with the sin and falls to religion as a source of comfort that contradicts the previous uncertainty about religion as a vital factor in life.

On page 92 Stephen is at a loss of words, all that he knows are names. They are all names that have some meaning when it applies to Ireland. “He recalled only names: Dante, Parnell, Clane, Clongowes.” Of these only one is a political figure, which makes us comprise a picture of what it is Joyce wants us to believe. Joyce wants to channel Parnell through the character of Stephen and he uses the significance of the troubled state of Irish politics to portray a hero. This “portrait” is just one of many things that make Stephen an artist and Joyce makes clear that those who fight through differences in beliefs make themselves heroes to many. Much like Parnell, Stephen faces a conflict with a familiar group his own family and the divide that leads to hostilities.


Stephen Dedalus is very much like Ireland itself; it is fighting the dominating control of the human soul much like Ireland fought through political turmoil and imperialist rule. Joyce tries to portray the fact that Parnell’s death was far worse than Ireland could have hoped. The death of Stephen’s soul comes from his sin of lust, and his inability to comprehend his actions and from this characters may suffer and ultimate hardship.

sarah c 6 said...

Darkness in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce, many different symbols put across many different ideas and allusions. Darkness is a very important symbol to this book. It can symbolize and allude many different things. Not every quote containing the symbol of darkness has the same significance. However, some quotes are very similar in their symbolic meaning and significance to the book. The connection of symbols and passages in this book is important to understand symbolic meaning in this book. Many passages in this book parallel each other and connect.

In the first chapter of this book darkness symbolizes a few different things. In the following quote darkness can refer to hidden images, misrepresentation, being trapped, and fear. "He saw the dark. Was it true about the black dog that walked there at night with eyes as big as carriagelamps? They said it was the ghost of a murderer. A long shiver of fear flowed over his body. He saw the dark entrance hall of the castle. Old servants in old dress were in the ironingroom above the staircase. It was long ago. The old servants were quiet. There was a fire there but the hall was still dark. A figure came up the staircase from the hall. He wore the white cloak of a marshal; his face was pale and strange; he held his hand pressed to his side. He looked out of strange eyes at the old servants. They looked at him and saw their master's face and cloak and knew that he had received his deathwound. But only the dark was where they looked: only silent air." In darkness images can appear much differently and darkness can stir up all kinds of mixed emotion, like curiosity and fear.

The first sentence of the passage refers to sight. When one sees darkness it can represent blindness because the person sees nothing. Joyce wants the reader to know that what Stephen is seeing is distorted. The next sentence represents fear. Stephen is curious about the dog but is also a little scared by the idea of it being real. Stephen has not yet come out of his innocence, and still has a little bit of a childish imagination.

Stephen's fear is also represented in the next part of the passage. "They said it was the ghost of a murderer. A long shiver of fear flowed over his body." Joyce is showing that Stephen is trapped in this darkness and he is frightened. He is acting a little immature, but he has not come out of the darkness yet; his innocence. Darkness can represent all kinds of things from death to the supernatural. These ideas of ghosts and murder scare Stephen.

The next part of the passage describes people that Stephen is imagining. It describes the setting, attire, and activity of these people. Even though there is a fire, the hall is still dark. The darkness and quietness is almost making the environment seem peaceful, but Joyce makes it seem eerie through Stephen's thoughts. Stephen cannot see correctly and neither can the servants. They are all trapped in this darkness. Now the master of the servants is returning home. He is described as wearing white and being very pale. His white cloak represents that he is a light in this darkness. Darkness can symbolize impurity and light can symbolize purity, which creates an interesting effect on the meaning of the darkness.

The last part of this quote is the most significant. This master in his white cloak sees his servants, but they cannot see him. They cannot see the white light coming through the darkness. The fact that they can only see darkness makes it seem as if they are blind. Stephen cannot see correctly in the darkness. Joyce creates a parallel in this quote because both Stephen and the servants are tapped in this darkness and cannot see the light to come out.

In chapter two there is a similar passage to the one chosen from chapter one. “By day and by night he moved among distorted images of the outer world. A figure that had seemed to him by day demure and innocent came towards him by night through the winding darkness of sleep, her face transfigured by a lecherous cunning, her eyes bright with brutish joy. Only the morning pained him with its dim memory of dark orgiastic riot, its keen and humiliating sense of transgression.” This passage is similar to the first one because both describe how Stephen cannot see correctly. In this passage Stephen is describing images as being distorted and seeing differently during day and night.

The first sentence in this passage describes moving among distorted images. Stephen is starting to come out of the darkness, but he is not completely there yet because he is still blinded a little bit by the darkness. He no longer feels trapped by this darkness, but he still cannot see through it. Joyce is emphasizing a point that darkness blinds people of reality.

The next part of this passage describes innocence and darkness. This figure seemed innocent and beautiful by day, but darkness changes its appearance. Stephen is not completely out of his innocence, and these changes are strange to him. Darkness can represent nighttime, and nighttime can represent sleep. When the figure comes through the “winding darkness of sleep”, she appears differently. The darkness has changed her in a way that represents its symbolic meaning. Images becoming distorted and innocence disappearing.

The girls face is described well. Joyce creates an image for the reader as an example of the face’s change. Her face is “transfigured by a lecherous cunning”. This means that her facial expression was changed by a want for lust. Darkness can represent sin and want for lust can be considered a sin. “Her eyes were bright with brutish joy”; brutish can mean cruel, sensual, or uncivilized. In this sentence it can mean all three because they all describe her lustful desires, which can be considered sinful.

The last sentence is a reflection for Stephen. He is pained because he remembers being trapped in the darkness the previous night. Stephen is in between being completely out of this darkness. His sinful acts the previous night show that he is coming out of his innocence. His memory of “orgiastic riot” show that he was sinful, which can be represented by darkness. Joyce is showing that Stephen is becoming much more mature.

These two passages show how darkness is significant to the book. Darkness symbolizes many different things like night, evil, sin, blindness, misinterpretation, and entrapment. Joyce uses this symbol in the book to signify many things. He uses it mainly in these two passages to show that darkness distorts images and affects perception. He is also using it to show that Stephen is trapped in this darkness and trying to come out of his innocence. Darkness is a very important symbol to this book.

Nina F 6 said...

Color of Knowledge

Colors are things that evoke emotions, but that’s not all it does. In a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce uses colors as a clue into the maturing stages of Stephen. Also as time progresses colors become Stephen’s way of understanding the things that are happening in his life.

In the beginning of the novel Stephen is an infant who doesn’t know or understand things that are going on in his life. The things that Stephen thinks are normal, while an infant are not necessarily normal to adult. Joyce shows that Stephen is less understanding when he writes, “Flemings had a box of crayons and one night during free study he had coloured the earth green and the clouds maroon.”pg 27. In this passage it shows how when people are younger things are not always what they truly seem to be. In coloring the earth green it showed that the world that Stephen is going to enter in is not always going to be perfect. At times it may be a little envious or the people that he encounters may be a little jealous. Even though the color green may symbolize envy, jealousy and things of that sort, the color green also means hope. In this passage it fits in because through all these things that may happen to him, Stephen has to have hope, no matter what happens.


When there is no hope sometime as humans we have to live off our passion. The passage goes on to say, “And the clouds maroon”, and the color maroon evokes passion. Stephen used this passion as a way to canal his emotions from a young little boy to a growing adolescent. The color maroon also symbolizes blood. Being the color of blood it is not showing that Stephen is physically losing blood but he is losing his relationship with his family with is his blood. This concept was very interesting because clouds are in the sky and something else that is in the sky are angels and things of that sort. As humans we sometime have the mentality of having our family that has passed away be our guardian angels so I find it interesting that Fleming colored the clouds maroon. So the maroon clouds may symbolize the blood that Stephen has lost physically or even mentally and spiritually. Going back to the idea of Stephen losing his relationship with his blood, may be foreshadowing Stephen leaving his mother’s nest.


Thinking about these two colors together I found it amazing that these two colors can symbolize the hope of leaving his blood and maturing on his own. Another thought of the symbolism of these two colors could be Stephen being envious of the passion that people are having around him and he is not able to feel that yet, so he dreams about things that he wish he could really do.

As Stephen dreams about the things he would want to do with women, Joyce goes on further into the novel and gives the readers a little insight on how Stephen is growing up. Joyce writes, “A young women dressed in a long pink gown laid her hand on his arm to detain him and gaze into his face.” Pg 98. In this chapter Stephen is starting to grow up. At the point where this passage is written Stephen goes to see a prostitute and she is wearing a pink gown. The color pink symbolizes flirtation, love, seduction with are all the things that prostitutes do, they flirt and become seductive to think that they are in love with that person but this isn’t always the case. Stephen still being a young person, his knowledge of what love is isn’t necessarily the right idea. Stephen seems to dream about the things he thinks would happen if he was really in these situations. In going to see a prostitute Stephen is not aware of the things that prostitutes are capable of doing to a young mind. His mind is so naïve that he can be easily fooled or tricked.


The color pink is a very interesting color because to make the color pink there needs to be a mixture of the colors red and white. Thinking about the symbolisms of these two colors, red is always a symbol of love, pain, anger, and things like that, where as the color white is a symbol of light or knowledge, purity, cleanliness. Thinking of it as a more biblical way it was interesting to see how red could symbolize the devil and white could symbolize an angel. There is always conflict between these two things: good and evil and each one always tries to outdo the other. In this passage the conflict is between Stephen himself. He is having this conflict about the passion that he is feeling at the moment and the purity that he has known all his life. The battle of two opposite forces is finally coming together at this point of the novel. Mixing the red and white together is mixing two things that people would never think would be good for each other but in the end may end up with something so pretty. So the forces are finally coming together and this gives Stephen more knowledge about the thought of women. Stephen is actually felling this and going through this were as before it was just a dream and not he is able to fully experience the things he once dreamed about.


Stephen grows up by experiences the things he never imagined. The things he once just looked at quickly and didn’t notice if there was anything out of the ordinary he is now looking at closely and realizing the things that surrounds him. Colors is just one of the ways the Joyce shows the readers that Stephen is not always going to be a young boy but he is growing up just as all of us. His knowledge is shown through colors also because of the fact that he is beginning to realize that colors are beginning to evoke a certain emotion in him.

Faedhra said...

Faedhra W.6
Feminism in the A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man

“ A Portrait Of The Young Artist As A Young Man” is a beautiful piece of art by James Joyce put together to let us in the life of the young man Stephen as he mature. Stephen was able to turn everything that he comes upon in life into art. This novel encompass themes from the wise Daedalus, to red, the color of passion and crime, to bells which indicate the changes in time and also feminism, the idea of women in the life of that just-born artist. Those themes allow us to indicate why this young man favor the path that he decide to follow. As the novel opens, It was impossible to not see the importance of Stephen’s mom in his life. Someone “ who has a nicer smell than his father”.(21) as he mature, lacking his mother’s touch, Stephen turned to “a women dressed in a long pink gown”(99) to find the maternal and safety that he could only find from his mother. We notice the change in Stephen, from an unadulterated kid who used to like to dance with his mother to a maturing young artist. Joyce give us an idea about the importance of women in the society that we live in. It is from the voice that Joyce grant to those women that make possible for me to choose such a topic.

To begin, Joyce introduces Stephen, a young man who was able to remember the importance of two women in his life. First, His mom , Mary Daedalus who shows him a protective, and loving environment. He remember when he used to wet his bed. Joyce used a very simple way to explain how he felt after wetting the bed. “First it was warm then it gets cold” Stephen said. He recall his mother presence in his life, her caring personality whom always “put on the oilsheet” after his be incident. This permit us to see it is his mother that Stephen allow Stephen to look for what is right, to find the correction from inappropriate behavior present in life. Stephen will never forget that “queer smell“. It is at that moment that Stephen sexual orientation for the other sex became clear. The need for that companionship will always be there. From his mother, he had learn that creativity come in everyway. Whether it is from dancing and singing “tralala lala/ Tralala tralaladdy……(21) as his mother played the piano or y being amaze of words such as wine and music. She had gave him the courage to confront his society by defending his favorite writers Cardinal Newman and Byron, who was an heretic and an immoral.

Second women who Joyce introduce was Dante, Mrs. Riordon, “a well-read, clever”, “God and religion before everything” was Stephen governess. He is unconsciously aware of her politics and religious ideologies. As a child, he remembered Dante vivid action toward the idea of him marry Eileen, a protestant was unacceptable. It was a sin. He remembered the words of her mom “O, Stephen will apologise” But most importantly, he remembered Dante’s threat “the eagle will come out and pull out his eyes”(21). Those women make an impact in his early life, he were so close to them that Stephen remembered that “his mother had a nicer smell than his father” a hairy face man.

Stephen portrayed is mom as a powerful and beneficent source of physical pleasure. Having his mother by his side, Stephen feels no guilt nor fear however, with the absence of his mother, “he moaned to himself like some baffled prowling beast” (98). Later in the novel, Stephen lost his innocence as he spends time with a prostitute covered with a pink gown. He chooses that path because of the lack of his mother in his life. As, Stephen mature, he became disconnected to his mother because of school, an environment that is encompass by arrogant young male. He starts to notice the world around him especially the world of debt that his father had putt on the family. Stephen tried his best to solve that problem, but with a drunken father in the way, it became hard for him. Stephen grew taciturn, it became very difficult for him to reveal his true thoughts.

However, Joyce had shown us that our body is limited. There is so much that body can handle. To take a break form all of those worries, Stephen thinks about his Mercedes, a character from a fiction story “ the Count of Monte Cristo”, “the wasting fire of lust sprang up again.” He could not control it anymore. “His blood was in revolt.” He wandered up and down the dark, slimy streets, desperate for some physical pleasure. A kind if pleasure that his mother was not able to gives him. As he search for that physical pleasure “ he moaned to himself like some baffled prowling beast.” Stephen wanted to commit with someone of his opposite sex, he wanted someone to sin with him and to exult with her in sin. This artist did not want to commit his sin by himself, he wanted a partner. He knew it was a sin, his desire for it was so strong that he was enable to prevent it.

Stephen found a women wearing a pink gown. Pink representing the mixture of the color red and white, passion and purity unify together resulting to a creation of vivid “fire of lust” that Stephen cannot control. The prostitute offers him that momentary feeling of being strong and fearless. She enables him to surrounding himself to her, “ body and mind” he wasn’t worried about anything of the moment except of her hand around him. Stephen chooses to commit this sin because the feeling that the prostitute gave him relieves for a moment any uncertainties, alienation and strife that he had have. He felt strong, a feeling every man like to have, it proves that Stephen is no longer a kid, he is entering a new phase in life. We take notice that it was after he realizes that his financial supports has done nothing to alleviate the conflict of his family that he ran off to the prostitute. Stephen was frustrated with the life that he was living.

As we examine the prostitute, we see that she has the traits of ever women that once was in Stephen’s life. The prostitute seems young in appearance as Joyce mentions the presence of a huge doll beside her bed which could have perfectly being Stephen first lust Eileen Vance. The prostitute shows maternal instinct and confidence which represent both Dante and Stephen’s mom, Mary because she was able to calm his fear.

In conclusion, Joyce showed us feminism impacts in Stephen’s life. As a young adult leave his mother, it is clear that somewhere in the road that the person would fine someone to replace the mother. Not any women , but a women with the same qualities as their mother. This is the door that differentiate a boy from a man. Innocence, purity are no longer exist.

Mr. G said...

Looks like some interesting papers--looking forward to reading. It's the morning after the papers were due and I'm just typing myself a note. Peace.

Katie S6 said...

Katie S
Period 6
12-10-07


The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Roses-Red

In James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce uses roses to foreshadow the sinful acts Stephen brings upon himself throughout the first two chapters. The color of a rose is usually red, which implies the idea of sin, passion, or love brought upon by someone either by their actions or the actions of others. Rose bushes are used to foreshadow Stephen’s journey towards as sin as he follows the buildings Roman throughout the story.
The passage in chapter one is when the reader is first introduced to the idea of a red rose and its significance; Father Arnall is educating his students about York and Lancaster, a war of roses. Stephen represents his side with a white rose and the opposing side, Jack Lawton wears the red rose. During this Stephen can feel his white rose begin to “flutter” (25), which symbolizes Stephen’s purity, his devotion to God begin to fade away. Lancaster then loses, “the red rose wins” (25), at this moment Joyce uses the war of roses to foreshadow the war of sin and purity within Stephen. “White roses and red roses: those were beautiful colours to think of.” Joyce uses juxtaposition for the two colors to enhance the idea of Stephens’s curiosity about the two colors. The white roses represent the idea of pureness to god while sin represents the temptation one gives into that goes against God. Stephen also brings up this idea of green roses, “Perhaps a wild rose might be like those colours and he remembered the song about the wild rose blossoms on the little green place. But you could never have a green rose” (25). Joyce refers back to the Catholic religion and in part of that is the story of Adam and Eve. Stephen is caught up in this idea of sin which connects through the story. The green Joyce refers too is the green garden snake used to lure in Adam and Eve to the red sinful apples; the green place used to lure him to the red rose bushes.
In chapter two, Stephen finally reaches that moment where he loses his purity to his overpowering sin. “a small whitewashed house in the garden of which grew many rosebushes” (67) Once again this idea of sin presented in the form of rosebushes. “and in this house, he told himself, another Mercedes lived.” (67). Stephen dreams he is like Napoleon and after a time he comes home to beautiful Mercedes. “The peace of the gardens and the kindly lights in the windows poured a tender influence into his restless heart” (69). The green garden, such as Adam and Eve’s is once again brought up in this passage. Joyce uses the green to symbolize the idea of nature taking its course, its only apart of life to take curiosity to ones sexual desires. Also in this moment Stephen suffers from a loss of innocence, a change from child to man. “Weakness and timidity and inexperience would fall from him in that tragic moment” (69). Stephen reaches up to his rose, to his sin and plucks it right from its place and everything changes, just as Joyce had foreshadowed in the passage from chapter one.
Joyce decides to use roses as a symbol for the future because roses are often present in romantic situations or in times of strong passion. The idea of the rose being from a garden also goes with Adam and Eve’s story of temptation because they passed on their sin from a garden themselves. Also the idea of purity and sin are brought on throughout the entire story because it struggles within Stephen himself which is shown through the colors white and red. Joyce presented the idea of red being a form of sin to foreshadow how morally wrong it was to the church and most of all God. Most of the story Stephen struggles with these beliefs so Joyce used the idea of roses to do so through the novel.

Mr. G said...

Portrait Paper comments

Hi all. I apologize in advance for my hasty typing: I’m sure I made many errors in spelling and grammar. Please forgive me. But I’m averaging a page of comments per person this way: I just wrote a twelve page paper on twelve papers. The only grades you will be able to see are the As.

matthew s6

Be more specific in intro / mention the character’s name. Avoid second person. You mentioned blindness as a topic but not how it works as a symbol and are too vague all around in thesis. Same with next paragraph, mentioning that he goes through “many changes” is too vague (hit list).
Next paragraph: instead of saying “how Stephen was”, tell me how he was. I’m not sure what the second sentence means? Interesting connection to Egyptian myth, but I’m not sure you developed how Joyce was using the allusion.
Otherwise matt, you didn’t actually explicate either passage: you picked out one quotation from each passage and connected it through a vague use of symbol. Please review the handout for explication. I’m not sure you went through this process and is overall lacking appropriate depth and length.



thespian g 6

Instead on “on page 20”, replace with context. The second half of your intro is much better than yr first. You could basically cut the first part, the last half deals with specifics, whereas the first does not. Also, I’m not sure enjambment is what you are going for. Also work on active voice—look at the last sentence for example.

Start with topic and context before quotations. Look up definition of enjambment. Overall solid paragraph, tho you could’ve split this is two and flushed out some more analysis / effect.

Again, begin with topic / context, “the second passage”? (of what) and create a transition btw paragraphs (subtle and sophisticated language. Again, overall solid job of integrating evidence and well done on showing the difference in S.’s ability to craft language, but still could’ve split into two paragraphs again and flushed out some more analysis. I think there is a little more in these paragraphs left to be flushed out.

The conclusion is just a summary (vague): I’d rather see nothing than summary. Overall solid job. Work on Active Voice



Laurie M. 6

Work on commas, especially in intro. I liked where it was going, but “played a huge role” is much too vague. (And on hit list for that reason.) 4th sentence: pronoun / antecedent agreement. Overall, interesting topic to relate to S.’s growth, but “perfect word choice” and “similes” is too non-specific.

Instead of “In the first passage”, begin with context: “In the passage when…”Tho you are picking out wonderful imagery, you are missing effect. To say that “it paints a picture for the audience” is too self evident. You need to show how Joyce uses imagery to establish S.’s maturation processes. Tho the example and idea of this paragraph are great, you do not really explicate the passage b/c you do not trace how Joyce does it; you focus on examples which could be symbols within the paragraph, but do not trace how meaning is created (the main goal of explicating).

Same for the Mercedes paragraph—how is the paragraph working to show S.’s maturing besides that M. is a symbol if this? Conclusion is summary (too vague).



meaghan s6 A+!

Solid intro, great thesis, especially with juxtaposition idea with this symbol.

Great so far—not criticism, just an idea: I think in the 3rd body paragraph when you mention that first communion was “the happiest day…”, this is also an allusion to Napoleon. I don’t have the book in front of me right now, but if it is not said in this passage, it definitely comes up again phrased as such. The fact that he considers what Napoleon has to say, also adds complexity to this situation.

Temple: also temple of the head.

Nice transition.

Great. You could work just a tiny bit on active voice in a few places, and I’m sure after these class discussions, you have some things you could also add to the paragraphs.

Wonderful job overall—great job “taking your time” to fully develop and explicate passage.



michelle p 6

I think your thesis would be wonderfully entertaining if you allowed yourself to fully explain and develop it with your own language. I think I can see what you are getting at, but your language doesn’t really express it. I would also replace the phrase “catch 22s” with something more formal and specific.

The passage on page 25: Is there a reason it is there? You do not introduce it or explain it in any way. If it is there for contextual reasons, you should explain the scene and quote from and integrate it into the a paragraph. You do a wonderful job on setting up this conflict, but never really explain or analyze it. You don’t really “explicate” anything, which focuses on how Joyce creates meaning in the way that he writes this scene. The same goes for the rest of the paragraph. You should try not to end the paragraphs with quotations (they are missing analysis.)

As I said, wonderful job putting together the ideas—I know (or I think I know) what you were trying to do, but you never actually explained it—you just left it there for me (the reader) to do all the analysis and connecting.



christina h 6 A-!

Great intro / thesis. Well stated.

Great start to first paragraph. Formalize your last two sentences—they are too Joycean! Try “His mother” instead. Nice job with the symbol of the faucet.

Nice transition. Well done. The only thing I would add here is a little more depth with the explication of the passages. You could’ve spent more time developing the effect of the whole passage(s). Also, I think connecting S.’s “jostling in the tides” can be referenced back to the faucet. Tho you set it up good in the beginning, a return and connection to this idea would’ve been nice.




Michael r 6

Almost there in intro. Some of the sentences / phrases are not necessary. You could cut “the author” in the first sentence, as well as the 3rd and the 5th sentences, since they don’t provide any argument; they are too vague. Also, I think your thesis needs more subtlety, since Joyce’s treatment of S.’s relationship with the church is more complex than you present it here. You need to allow for more room here, as well as show more development btw the two passages.

Replace the first phrase with specific context. The last sentence of your first section is the best; it is the one most closely connected to the effect that Joyce is trying to develop in the character. You need more of this. Also, the davinci code (written almost a century after this book, is not relevant).

Again, replace the first phrase with specific context. You are really close in this essay. You could use almost everything in the essay, but you need to show more how Joyce is using these passages to develop S.’s character. Nice effort shown. Could also be more specific with context when writing about it.



brian a.6

I would totally buy your intro / thesis if you used it to show how Joyce uses Parnell to help shape Steven, otherwise the thesis falls a bit flat and is too self-evident.

The content of the first section of your essay, especially near the end, is well done (and does address a little of what was missing in the thesis. You also did a good job researching from the material provided (we’ll deal with proper citation after break). The trick now is integrating this so your essay is more fluid and your points are more relevant and not so tangential.

Very well done on transition. I have the same comments on the rest of your essay. Your writing is also more considered as the year has progressed (less careless mistakes).



Jessica f. 6

Take yourself (first person) out of your essay, especially in your thesis. Otherwise, your connection to fire as the source of S.’s sins and feelings of guilt after is well noted. It might be better to phrase it tho that this is one aspect of the symbol that you are developing, rather than making it seem as if this is the sole effect of the image.

The first phrase needs context; written as such it is wrong (it is not the first passage of the book.) Be careful with your language. You do well to develop the topic at the beginning of the paragraph, but you should be integrating that passage, rather than quoting it at length. As you can see, it makes analyzing the passage difficult and awkward when you do this, and you have very little to say after the quotation is finished. I’m not sure what the last sentence of your fist section means?

Same comment about specificity of context to begin the next paragraph of your essay. Also work on active voice. For instance, “James Joyce describes Stephen like a child when Stephen recalls memories” instead of what you have. There are many moments of this. I’m still not sure how your stand is being addressed yet?

Same comment about specificity of context to begin the next section of your essay. Great introduction to topic, but integrate evidence more fluidly by using specific context. Still confused, what is ID? Some really interesting thoughts, but I’m not sure the evidence you picked fits your subject / strand. Nice effort shown tho aqnd some deep thinking evident.



quan t.6 A-

Solid thesis.

Well done in first section. Concise and thoughtful and nice use of vocabulary, though “maltreatment” doesn’t work. Anyway, nice job, unfortunately for you, I already read Meg’s paper that argued the same points.

Ah, nice contextual connection. (Sorry for the inadvertent alliteration…doh, did it again.) Anyway, nice connection here, though I think this fascination with M is not “diminutive”—it makes for an interesting connection. Solid job.



benwit l.6 A+

Very well done in thesis / well stated and philosophical.

Nicely done in first section. This is not a criticism, but got me thinking (or rethinking about this section): If he recites that pseudo poem backwards which would then end with his name (instead of God or the universe) and he thinks that it isn’t poetry (or art)—could this idea change for him (or the reader—I think this is an important idea in Modernism: a version of this Romantic reassessment of the individual)? Anyway, in some sense, this whole book is essentially a poetic study of characterization rather than plot. Anyway, just fodder for thought: thanks for making me think of that.

Next section: “write” not “right”. I know, I’m fecklessly reaching, but what is there for me to criticize? I also think you mean “obfuscates” instead of “obscures”. Great job. Nice connection.



Erika r 6

Solid intro, tho your first sentence is a bit awkwardly phrased.

Solid set-up in this first part of your essay. I think you could’ve explicated the section a bit more in depth (you were right on topically, but you could’ve addressed a number of other things happening within this section that dealt more with how Joyce created the scene.)

Also, nice job on transition with details about Dante. We’ll address citation after break, but nice research. You could give more specific context than “Joyce describes it as” to integrate evidence more fluidly. Again, you did a wonderful job topically and connected two interesting passages, but you needed more depth in your actual explication of the passages. This would’ve given you the appropriate length as well.

Anyway, a couple awkward phrases, mostly with prepositions, but nice job and effort.


more soon.......

Mr. G said...

Portrait paper comments continued...

Emily T 6--

First sentence fine for opening, but work on active voice (this goes for whole paper). Overall nice intro leading up to your thesis, but when you present the thesis to your passage, you should replace the reference to page numbers with context. Also, be specific as to what the emotions are and how they affect his “maturing stages”.

Again, the passive voice really gets in the way of you writing more directly about context and integrating your evidence. The starting point is well noted for S.’s emotions, but the end of that first paragraph is left a bit too vague. I kept thinking “How?” after each of your last sentences in the paragraphs. I have the same comment for the next paragraph, though I am still liking your connection of light and dark images. You chose good evidence.

Transition, again, is fine—but you need to be more specific with what you are saying about his maturity. Overall well done here too—same comments about specificity.



Emily L 6 A-!

Solid intro and well done. One quick point: “Stephen’s ability to become free” (or attain a freedom, or something more specific) rather than “to becoming free”.

First sentence of paragraph—cut the last two words and combine with next sentence. (This gets rid of passive voice and keeps context specific. Very well done setting up context. I wasn’t aware of the connection btw eagles and Catholicism—interesting if it is true. In any case—well done setting up this connection.

Great connection to the game. However, you need to reference connection contextually so the explication still works. Good.

Exemplary job on first heron paragraph. 2nd paragraph—use evil instead of bad. The only thing you are missing is a more specific connection to the D & I myth, since you mentioned it in thesis and conclusion. You never really developed this point.


Ping L 6--

Ping—your intro is a bit confusing to me. Though darkness as a symbol of “maturity and happiness” is interesting—you need to explain what you mean here, because it doesn’t really go together. Also, the rest of the intro is too vague—it is written in a way that could reference any book, rather than specifically Portrait. Instead of listing the literary techniques Joyce uses, explain how he uses them to create an effect. What purpose do they serve?

Good use of specific context—work on phrasing your language so I can tell you are introducing a topic. You did a very good job of integrating evidence and setting up context of this scene with Fr. Dolan. There are points when you could tighten up some awkwardness in your own language. You set yourself up for a perfect use of the symbol. Instead of saying it represents his happiness or maturity tho, you should be showing how joyce uses it as a representation of the mind which S. must go through. There is a little more depth to this symbol if approached this way.

Need more specific transition btw passages. Well done with cave—you should also do some research into Plato’s “Republic” when he writes about the cave—this is also probably being referenced.


Shuyi G 6--

There are some high points in the intro—overall you present your topic well. Where it falls flat is for two reasons: 1. the use of passive voice. For example, the first and last sentences suffer from this. 2. A little more specific with your contextual references to develop this “maturing” you reference here. Finally—I’m not sure what you mean by “the use of imagination and diction”—maybe more specific here so the second part of the sentence makes more sense.

I think your first paragraph would work better if you dealt with S.’s love for his mother on a more unconscious level than you present it here. It may just be your phrasing. Also, I have no idea what “as a man considers the breeding and raising skill of his half” means. Can you clarify?

However, your description of S.’s relationship with his mother and the effect that it has on him feel ostracized is wonderfully done. Good job here.

Nice transition. Good job as well with the Mercedes section. From your title—is your strand “portraits?’ If so, you should also develop more on Joyce’s creation of a “Portrait” of a character. Your paper would totally fit this—you just need to address it with more specific language in the intro. Good work.



Jessica S 6

Overall well done in intro. But here’s what you need to clarify: Instead of listing page numbers, connect with the context. Literally tell me which sections. Also, the structure of this passage works quite well, but could you further explain why the stream of consciousness fits your last sentence: (it does, you just need to state more specifically. Finally, a little more specific on the last sentence about how S. gains experience through this imagery.

Keep essay in present tense. Very well done with this image of the rose during the sums.

You could use a more fluid transition btw passages tho. Great connection again, tho I think you could’ve explicated this scene a little more specifically. It was a little too topical. The other thing that you could work on is your own language / writing. Some vague sentence sort of “stop the flow” of your writing. If you can get the integration of evidence and idea better, the paper will read more convincingly.



Elina R 6 A!

Overall well done in intro. A few things: 1. how are you sure it is a two year old? A toddler might be better. You may want to find a different way to say “Joyce writes in a more advanced manner”, since this is not exactly what you mean. The first section is actually very complexly written, it is just modeled after a younger mind—but I get your point. You just need to state it correctly. Finally—why the D & I myth—you never really mentioned why Joyce utilizes this myth.

Excellent point about Joyce’s use of just the first part of the quotation and well said as to why. Very well done with the explication—you broke the section up nicely and did a fine job of explaining the implications of the myth at the beginning of the novel. Nice transition, but again, what do you mean instead of “more advanced”.

Nice use of verdant. Try to get rid of very. Wonderful connection to the Perdix. Again, very well done with your explication of the passage and dividing into sections. You deal with this at the end of your paper, but maybe you should be more specific in the beginning of connecting the myth to S. as a tragic Hero of sorts??? That seems to be where you are going with it.

Simon M 6--

Good job researching a bit on Apollo, tho we will have to cite this on the next go around. You are almost there in intro—your last sentence needs to include why….otherwise it is half complete.

Either put “pandies” in quotations, or use your own word, since we would not use this early 20th century irish expression. You are making some huge leaps in this first paragraph that I am not convinced of…How are glasses connected to light? I’m not sure this last section of the paragraph makes logical sense here. The rest of your argument also has these great leaps of faith. I think you should focus more on a strict explication of the passage, rather than trying to connect things in such a forced way. You could be more specific with context and how meaning is created in this scene and still deal with S.’s lesson in “Truth”, rather than forcing these symbolic connections.

I’m also not sure what your transition paragraph means—it is not really a transition—more of a strange connection, since most youth are beardless and Joyce doesn’t really stress that S. lacks a beard at any point.

The second half of your essay is more of a summary of the scene, rather than an explication, which would use context to show how joyce develops meaning. Instead, at the end of the paper, you are left with the vague “help pave the road of Stephen’s growth.” You also have phrases like this “come into play”—but these do not actually address either why joyce is doing it or how meaning is then created from this. I think trying to follow through with the steps of explication first would help, and then you can connect some of these ideas symbolically in a more specific way.



Son N 6--

Overall solid job in the intro. Work on active voice. “Dante is seemed to be…” needs fixing. I thought there might also be a reference to Dante the poet here too—it would also for a little more depth here. Though you did a good job showing how she may be a source of guilt.

Instead of “in one passage”—be very specific with context. That whole sentence should be replaced with specific context. Good job referencing Dante the poet—but don’t you think he should be in the intro? You will need to cite the information you learned about him. You connected two interesting ideas in this first passage with their affect on S., but you did not explicate the passage—I have no sense of context within the passage or How Joyce is creating meaning within the passage.

Same comments about specificity with context to begin this next section. You definitely have the overall purpose of Dante’s role within the novel—but never really get at how Joyce creates this effect (which is explication). You have a very good topical paper (tho you should also connect the poet Dante’s role to all of this, but you are missing a conflagration of all your points into an argument.



Linda Y. 6--

Very effective opening of introduction. Nice transition into Joyce’s use of fire, though I would like to see a bit more specificity with how Joyce uses the fire in the intro—both in terms of context and what the effect actually is on S.

Great selection of passages. Try to integrate evidence more fluidly. You do a very good job of locating multiple ways that Joyce is utilizing fire as a symbol, but the explication of the passage is not fluid. You need to spend more time going through the process of “explicating” passage, so your paper is not so topical. When it is topical, the context seems separate and it seems more like you are listing a bunch of points rather than synthesizing an argument about how joyce is developing the symbol.

I’m not sure what the first sentence in your second section means? What does “takes the same symbol” mean? Tho I like the idea that it could foreshadow evens. I have similar concerns in this section about the integration of evidence. Again, you have interesting ideas about what things symbolize, but you are not explicating. You should be showing HOW joyce is creating the meaning. Otherwise, you are just producing a topical paper of what things mean with no proof of how joyce created it. This is the type of thing that you can find in study guides about joyce, but I’m more interested in explications. This type of paper is too easy to write yet essentially lacks proof. I’m more interested in argument and process rather than whether your symbols are “right”.


Amy H. 6--

You need to replace the page numbers with specific context. You also have a typo in the first sentence in the title of the book. I think you mean “curiosity” not “curiousness” Your last sentence is interesting, but you need to show specifically how this idea is created as well as how it works in the novel you are writing about, otherwise the statement is too vague.

Again, need to rephrase so that you are not just referencing page numbers, but context instead. You should also make clear of the footnote about “smuggling” since I’m sure that is where you got that information. Your interpretation of this act is well done, but you need to 1. take the first person out, 2. you are not really dealing with any of the text, you focus only on the event that may have happened. You reference the way Joyce writes the scene (which is good) but provide no evidence for this. You should. It would help the flow of your argument—otherwise I am left to speculate and assume what you’re saying is correct. You have some interesting interpretations on Joyce’s use of diction here, but need to present in a more formal explication. Your writing reads more like a journal entry rather than a formal paper.

Your transition lacks a period, and is also completely informal. Again, your ideas are deep and complex, but you do not present your ideas as formal explication. If you were able to do this, you would have been much more successful.





Alexander a 6--

Overall your topic is solid—tho your phrasing in a couple places could be tightened up. Instead os “what is really…” and “how people can change…” be specific as to how and what. Your phrasing should be more direct and accurate. Also, a little more focus as to how it affects this “change” S. You never really addressed what or how he changed.

You need to replace the page numbers with context in the first sentence; this would fix the awkward vagueness of the sentence as is. The evidence in your paragraph is not integrated at all—you do not explicate the passage, but instead pull out a quotation (a good one) and write one small paragraph about the whole passage. You are not able to effectively do anything other than state that the political situation is present in S.’s life, but this is too obvious and could be found in any chapter summary of the book. There is simply not enough depth here, and you do no explication or analysis of any kind.

Overall, you did not really follow the directions of the paper, and did not produce what was expected.




Sarah c 6--

Your first sentence is far too vague. We’ve tried to banish (hit list) these phrases since the beginning of the year: “many different” and “very important” and “many different things” “very similar” and “many passages”—The whole intro is too vague. You thesis is basically that darkness is a symbol, but you do not say anything more specific than that.

Your first few sentences start off just as vague and do not provide any context before you place a very long (too long) quotation without citation and with no explanation. Your sentence that follows the quotation does not even really address the evidence.

So then in your next passage, I’m not sure what the first sentence of the passage refers to? What passage? What is the context? I’m not sure I follow either your argument or understand the context of what you are trying to say for the rest of this passage. I think you should follow the explication handout step by step—

The next part of your paper is a bit better and closer to explication. It is a little more clear as to what you are referring to. Overall, this is not your best work—I’ve seen more detailed and specific work from you.




Nina F. 6--

Watch pronoun antecedent agreement in first sentence. Topically, you are on point in the intro, but you must be much more specific here—you don’t really say anything other than that there are colors and S. changes over time.

The context of this paragraph either doesn’t fit the evidence, or you don’t integrate the context in. I’m not quite sure I understand what the significance of the colors are here. Your analysis does not fit the evidence. What you are doing in these paragraphs is not explication, instead you are trying to highlight what symbols mean without dealing with the context or How Joyce creates the scene. Your writing then, is much too vague instead of addressing the text.

Your transition is more like a journal entry, rather than a formal paper—I think you need to review the passage explication sheet and try to follow it step by step before you try to produce the paper part of it. You have some better (more specific about the text and S.) ideas in the second passage, but they are still too vague. I see some nice ideas, but you need to put them together more coherently.



Faedhra w 6--

In your first sentence, you should take the first person out and add an s to matures (this happens more than once in the essay). Keep essay in present tense (2nd sentence). You develop some interesting ideas, but need to present a more specific thesis about feminism. It is totally appropriate for you to start with S.’s mom, but what is the thesis? Also, focusing on the beauty of the text is also appropriate—but can you tie it into a thesis. You do not necessarily have to—but it would add value to your assertion of beauty. Okay, I’m seeing now—your thesis is at the end of that first long paragraph—you obviously need to “get to the point” quicker. And it is not the society “we live in”, so be careful with your phrasing. What exactly is Joyce saying about the imporatance of women…you are almost there.

Very well done in treatment of first passage to set up importance of female relationship, but watch the typos and awkward phrasings. Also, you could’ve explicated a little more specifically, but as far as using this to set up your ideas, well done.

Typos increasing as essay progresses and you are spending less time with the text and focusing too generally on S. rather than explicating text. You also stopped citing page numbers for text. You are also back and forth between past and present tense. I’m not sure how this scene represents feminism in any way. The writing here seems very scattered and you are more focused on making points rather than how joyce is creating meaning. This is the type of thing that is easy to find on line and easy to write, which is why I don’t want this type of writing—it is not really analysis.





Katie S 6--


Your introduction is splendid—but it is not “buildings Roman”—it is bildungsroman. Make sure you can either read your notes or look the word up before you submit!

Instead of starting the paragraph off with…”the passage in chapter 1 is when…”, start with specific context. In fact, that whole sentence is not necessary—I’d rather see specific context which leads into the topic of roses. You can be a little more subtle with topic development. Otherwise, an interesting take on the colors of the roses and well integrated with context and evidence and analysis—some of the best writing I’ve seen from you. You need to develop this idea within a bit more context however—since you are missing the development of this moment within the context of the passage—In explication, you should deal with more than one small moment.

I have the same comments for the second passage—great job picking passages (evidence) and connecting the two, but you need a more in-depth explication of the whole scene, otherwise your paper is too topical.

Mr. G said...
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