Thursday, January 31, 2008

James Joyce Critical Essay

due: February, 6th 2008 in class. Come to school early and print in the computer lab if you have trouble with your printer at home.

Late papers will lose 10pts. a day.

Scoring Guide: Critical Essay

You will also pass in all your notes and outline and rough draft for homework credit.


  • Paper needs to be 12pt font, Times New Roman, left justified, no spaces between paragraphs.

  • Your last name and page number of paper in Upper Right Header.

  • Margins 6.5 inches wide. 1 inch margins on all sides.

  • Minimum of 8 pages in length.

  • Title page needs to be 12pt font, Times New Roman, centered, double-spaced. It should include title, your name, my name, the course, and the date.

  • For quotations longer than 4 lines: set the quotation off by starting it on a new line and indenting each line one inch, or ten spaces, from the left margin. Do not enclose the passage in quotation marks.

  • Internal Citation must be done properly.

Papers will not be considered on time if all requirements are not met.

Your goal is to produce an original thesis about Stephen and his evolution as a character throughout the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. You will do this by explicating three passages and applying critical theory to your analysis.

Feel free to use this space for any discussions--maybe you want to run some idea by the class and get some feedback?


Ricki L5 said...

Hey guys! Umm, I was wondering about the set up of our paper. I'm not sure how to incoporate my thesis with parts from the criticle essays. Organization is difficult. I'm sure there will be plenty of questions in class.

Ricki L5 said...

Ok, I didn't do so great on our first paper so I want to post my thesis and see if I'm on the right track. Please give me your opinions.

In "A Portait of the Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce, Joyce uses maternal symbols that dominate Stephen Dedalus' entire life from the time as young boy, his growing independence, and the ultimate abandonment of these forces to pursue art.

I really think I'm going about this all wrong. I also thought about doing illusions instead, but I need help.

Angela S5 said...

Hi Ricki! My new thesis is somewhat similar to yours. I think that it is good and I understand it. If you look at both the feminism and psychoanalytical essays, with your thesis in mind than I'm sure you will be able to imrpove your essay. You can discuss how these maternal allusions or symbols force Stephen, unconcsiouly to become an artist and it is good to look at the passages where Stephen is reflecting on poetry or trying to write poetry, these are usually passages with maternal allusions. I hope this somewhat helped, but overall I think you are on the right track. Good luck!!

Ricki L5 said...

Thanks Angela for reviewing my thesis! Good luck to you too!

Mr. G said...


I totally agree with Angela. Yr thesis seems solid on surface--your intro should also address how criticism works in explicating these passages and also address the "growth" you mention. What ties these passages together? & What makes them show growth?

Also keep in mind that the body paragraphs should be focused on explicating the passages rather than pointing out "things" within the passages. Analysis should focus on how the writer creates meaning throughout the passage instead of simply "proving a topic".

Note to all: Did you follow the steps in handout for explication? There is a reason for this and if you skip this step, you may not be writing the "type" of paper that was assigned.

Good luck. Hope the paper is both a challenge for everyone and going well.


Angela S5 said...

This is Angela. I have a question about internal citations. When you are quoting Freud from one of the criticism essays do you put (Freud 340) or the author of the essay? I'm sure you do it this way but wasn't 100 percent. Thank you!

Mr. G said...

Good question.

Technically, you are supposed to find the book from which the Freud quote comes (see works cited in the essay you are reading) and look the quote up--for this paper, just cite it as the author of the essay did (Freud ???).

michelle p 6 said...

does anyone know the maximum limit our passages can be?
i'm thinking of a certain passage but I'm afraid it may be too long, or that it may need to be split into two.

Michael R. 6 said...

Hey Mr.g, do we double space our essay but avoid over-spacing in between paragraphs?

Christina H 6 said...

Michelle, I don't think there's a maximum limit to our passages, but you wouldn't want them to be too long. I suggest you break down the passages the way we do when we explicate and integrate the parts of the passage into your essay.

Mr. G said...

Michelle, Christina is right....To be more specific: if your passage is a paragraph, it should be jam packed with stuff that you can explain sentence to sentence. If it is much longer than a page and a half, you risk skimming the surface too much and writing a more topical essay rather than analysis or explication. It's a judgement call.

Michael, I think the answer to your question is yes. Double space essay, no extra spaces btw paragraphs.

Meaghan S6 said...

I just wanted to run my thesis by the class, but I'm having a problem. Anyway, let me just post it and then I'll explain my issue (actually it's more like my intro paragraph but that's ok).

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce juxtaposes elements in Stephen’s life as contrasting pairs to emphasize the division he feels within himself. These pairs include the clashes between religion and politics, love and lust, fantasy and reality, and the ultimate conflict between male and female. According to feminist thought, children learn this contrast at a very young age, when they are first learning language. When the child is fully able to recognize this distinction, it signifies that a clear differentiation has been made between the mother and the father.

Now, that's what I'm out to prove, but I'm having a tough time figuring out how to integrate the way I'm going to prove it into the beginning. I have the introduction paragraph I wrote from the last paper (about wine/grapes and Dionysis) which explains how Joyce, through these symbols, exemplifies the confusion in Stephen's life through juxtaposition. My third passage also includes a wine reference that fits in well with the other two passages I have, but I'm just curious if I should keep the intro that I just wrote and then include the intro from the wine paper after it, or make it one paragraph? I'm just not sure how to tie it all in, so any comments would be much appreciated!


Christina H 6 said...

Hey Meg, I think your thesis is clear; Your introduction outlines all the main points you're going to hit. You talk about the different clashes that Stephen experiences, but maybe you want to try to connect these clashes to Stephen's development. I also suggest using the word dichotomy your keep referring to the complementary pairs. I think that you can connect your strand to the intro paragraph (if that's what you're trying to do) by briefly mentioning that the presence of wine in certain situations symbolize Stephen's confusion. I hope that kind of helps.

I'm also having some trouble with my thesis and introduction, so if anyone could give me some feedback that's be great:

In A Portrait of the Artists as a Young Man, James Joyce's bildungsroman of Stephen is marked by his efforts to break away from female influence. According to feminist critic Suzette Henke, there are three types of mothers: the biological, the ecclesiastical, and the country--all whom Stephen wishes to cast away. Stephen begins to shy away from the warmth of his mother that he was once attracted to. Joyce uses imagery to allude Stephen's unpleasant psychological return to the womb. Stephen realizes that all women--the Virgin Mary, his mother, and the prostitute--have the ability to give birth to life. Recognizing the gender differences, Stephen separates himself from the women yet the women become Stephen's source of inspiration to create art. Joyce makes allusions to the myth of "Daedalus and Icarus" to show Stephen's ultimate flight.

-My first sentence sounds funny.
-I'm not sure if my introduction is a bit too long and detailed.
-Should I be using allude or elude in my 4th sentence?

Meaghan S6 said...

Christina, thanks for the help!! Your first sentence isn't as bad as you think it is. It's probably your use of the word bildungsroman, but I think it works, or you could play around with moving it like: In Portrait, James Joyce marks Stephen's bildungsroman by his efforts to break away from female influence.

Your intro is great. I think it's exactly what Mr. G was talking about because it really paints a picture of what you're going to talk about. Naturally, because it's a longer paper, I think it will fit.

Use allude. Elude means to try to avoid something.

I really want to read your paper when you're done. It touches on a lot of what we discussed in our Fem group, so good luck!!

Christina H 6 said...

HOT DOG! Thanks, Meg. Good luck with your paper as well.

Mr. G said...


So you two rock in your advice and I can't really add anything....except, Meg, at this point, you don't have to hang onto the passages that deal with "wine"--you should still use that writing if it fits, but see your explication of these passages more in a broader sense...maybe focus more on the dichotomy...?

Wendy said...

Do we have to type the whole passage or can we chop it up a bit? Another question is would this passage count as 4 lines:
".........His father's whistle, his mother's mutterings, the screech of an unseen maniac were to him now so many voices offending and threatening to humble pride of his youth. He drove their echoes even out of his heart with an execration:"(158, red book)

Angela S5 said...

Wendy, I think that we can chop up the passage a bit, just as long as you do not cut out too much. Also, I think that is 4 lines. Good luck!

Katie S6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie S6 said...

totally off topic, kind of
but Mr. G you should put some Death Cab For Cutie youtube videos on the blog. I listened to them the entire time i wrote the paper and they kept me so focused and calm. I just thought i should add that.

& good luck if you are still in the process of writing.

Meaghan S6 said...

Katie, I love them, they're awesome! I've been listening to the numbers come in from the primaries on the news (it feels so great to think that I'm like0.000000001% of those votes!) and that's kept me somewhat focused, even though by posting this I'm clearly procrastinating. Looks like Clinton and Romney took MA. Still waiting for CA. It's very interesting to see who wins each state, depending on their ties to the state and the demographics of its cities. But I should really finish this paper. Good luck to everyone!

Elina R 6 said...

okay, so i wrote my paper but im not really satisfied with it and since we now have time to fix it i need some help...please

okay, so this is my intro (it's kind of bad):

The production of art is the production of one’s internal conscious and unconscious desires. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce introduces the reader to the life of an artist, Stephen Deadalus. Throughout the book, Stephen’s persona progresses and matures as a result of his different encounters and life experiences. He develops as an artist by allowing his desires to inspire him in isolation. James Joyce uses the influence of women on Stephen’s art after their encounters to show how he evolves as a character.

(My first sentence is way off because im only usinf Feminist criticism and my sentence makes it seem lik i'm using psychoanalytic criticism)