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Sample essay topic, essay writing: A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man: Themes Developed Through Allu - 1298 words
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.. ainst his native land. Dirty,backward Ireland destroys any of its children who show creativity; it is, hesays, 'a sow that eats her farrow.'(Joyce 176). His classmates attempt toreform Ireland through political action and promotion of native literature.Stephen rejects these attempts as futile and backward-looking: 'Old phrases,sweet only with a disinterested sweetness like the fig seeds Cranly rooted outof his gleaming teeth.' (Joyce 227). Instead, Stephen abandons Ireland andlooks toward the continent (Farrell 208).
To be complete, Stephen must fill the void created by his rebellion, andcreate his own character. Sadly, the result is the character study of anarrogant, unhappy egotist, an intensely self-absorbed young man. An egotist isinterested only in the self, and is intensely critical of other people and theworld. This can be said of Stephen, who feels superior and finds it hard tocare for others, even for his own family (Litz 72). It is equally hard for himto accept affection or love from others:His lips would not bend to kiss her
He wanted to be held firmly in her arms,to be caressed slowly, slowly, slowly. In her arms he felt that he had suddenlybecome strong and fearless and sure of himself. But his lips would not bend tokiss her. (Joyce 94-5)From his early school days on, Stephen is at the edge of group life, observinghimself. As he grows older, he becomes even more absorbed in his own ideasuntil he finally withdraws from his familiar surroundings (Brandabur 159). In contrast, it is also Stephen's acceptance of his own sinfulness thatsets him free.
Guilt and fear of punishment keep him in a sterile, pale worldof virtue where he is always hounded by the pressure to confess, admit, orapologize (Drew 276). By committing a mortal sin of impurity and falling fromgrace like Adam from Paradise, like Lucifer expelled from Heaven, or even likeIcarus from freedom, he is thrust back into the earthly world of the senses, aworld that releases his creative powers (Booth 227):Could it be that he, Stephen Dedalus, had done these things? His consciencesighed in answer. Yes, he had done them, secretly, filthily, time after timeand, hardened in sinful impenitence, he had dared to wear the mask of holinessbefore the tabernacle itself while his soul within was a living mass ofcorruption. How came it that God had not struck him dead? (Joyce 131)Stephen will sin again and again, but instead of confessing he will write.Stephen's metaphoric descent into hell, like his ascent into an aesthetic heaven,is private, uniquely vouchsafed him by a higher power (Pope 114). Stephen isthe son of Dedalus, and what the son of Daedalus did was fall. It seems clearthat Stephen sees himself as a figure who, even if he heeds his father's advice,will eventually fly too high and fall (Kenner 231). Living in the earthly world, Stephen fears many things.
He has a fearof water (also giving allusion to Icarus' demise) since he views it as an emblemof his own futility. Ironically it is the seaside epiphany, where he sees abeautiful young girl, which awakens him to the demands of life (Litz 68): 'Shepassed now dancing lightly across his memory as she had been that night at thecarnival ball, her white dress a little lifted, a white spray nodding in herhair.'(Joyce 213) Once Stephen can no longer remain at ease in the role of anartist, he can begin to be human (Brandabur 164). Stephen's pride is also a cause of his isolation. From the beginning,pride -- a mortal sin -- keeps him away from others (Drew 276). He yearns for'order and elegance' in his life. He feels superior to his family and to hispeers.
He feels superior to his country, and consequently attempts to improveit (Hackett 203). In the end, pride drives him to lonely exile. IncreasinglyStephen denies his actual family in Dublin so as to assume kinship with hiseponymous family in Greece:Began with a discussion with my mother. . .
Said religion was not a lying-inhospital. Mother indulgent. Said I have a queer mind and have read too much.Not true. Have read little and understood less. The she said I would have tocome back to faith because I had a restless mind. This means to leave church bybackdoor of sin and reenter through the skylight of repentance.
Cannot repent.(Joyce 243)In essence, Stephen becomes less and less Dedalus, and more and more Daedalus(Ellman 16). Is Stephen's pride justified by his talent? Is it merely selfish?Has pride driven him to a fall, as it did Icarus and Lucifer? Joyce usesuncertainties like these to involve his audience in the changing themes of thenovel. In Portrait of the Artist, a mature artist looks back over his youth,perceiving what was significant to his development, estimating what was vitaland what was transitory in that evolvement (Peake 56). Using this to hisadvantage, Joyce extends and intensifies Stephen's alienation, for theoverpoweringly monotonous and constrictive society in which he resides providehim the best conditions under which he can best work (Beebe 163). Thus, by observing and graphically depicting what confines man, how manovercomes this confinement, and how man lives once he is free, James Joycediscusses the motivations and the outlets for human expression. Like Daedalusand Icarus, Stephen Dedalus assumes the role of a persecuted hero, who mustovercome his personal weaknesses and the oppression of his environment to gainspiritual enlightenment.BibliographyJoyce, James.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Bantam Books,1992.Adams, Robert M. James Joyce: Common Sense and Beyond. Random House, 1966.232. Rpt.
in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. ed. Dennis Poupard.Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1985. 16:234-37.Anderson, C.G. 'The Sacrificial Butter'. Accent. vol.
12. no. 1. Winter,1952. 3-13.
Rpt. in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. ed. DennisPoupard. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1985. 16:208-12.Beebe, Maurice.
'James Joyce: The Return from Exile'. Ivory Towers and SacredFounts: The Artist as a hero in fiction from Goethe to Joyce. New York:New York University Press, 1964. 260-95. Rpt. in Twentieth CenturyLiterary Criticism.
ed. Sharon K. Hall. Detroit: Gale Research Company,1982. 8:163-164.Booth, Wayne C. 'The Price of Impersonal Narration, 1: Confusion of Distance'.The Rhetoric of Fiction.
University of California Press, 1961. 311-38.Rpt. in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. ed. Dennis Poupard.Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1985. 16:222-25.Brandabur, Edward.
A Scrupulous Meanness: A Study of Joyce's Early Work.Chicago:University of Illinois Press, 1971. 159-174.Drew, Elizabeth. 'James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'. TheNovel: A Modern Guide to Fifteen English Masterpieces. Elizabeth Drew,1963. Rpt.
in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. ed. Sharon K. Hall.Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980. 3:276.Ellman, Richard.
The Consciousness of Joyce. New York: Oxford UniversityPress, 1977.Farrell, James T. 'Joyce and His First Self Portrait'. The New York Times BookReview. December 31, 1944.
6-16. Rpt. in Twentieth Century LiteraryCriticism. ed. Dennis Poupard.
Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1985.16:205-207.Gorman, Herbert. in an introduction to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Manby James Joyce. The Modern Library. 1928. 5-11. Rpt.
inTwentieth Century Literary Criticism. ed. Dennis Poupard. Detroit: GaleResearch Company, 1985. 16:203-205.Grose, Kenneth. James Joyce. Evans Brothers Ltd., 1975.
150. Rpt. inTwentieth Century Literary Criticism. ed. Dennis Poupard. Detroit: GaleResearch Company, 1985. 16:241-245.Hackett, Francis.
'Green Sickness'. The New Republic. vol. 10, no. 122.March 3, 1917. 138-39.
Rpt. in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism.ed. Dennis Poupard. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1985. 16:202-203.Kenner, Hugh. 'Joyce's Portrait -- A Reconsideration'.
The University ofWindsor Review. vol.1, no. 1. Spring, 1965. 1-15.
Rpt. in TwentiethCentury Literary Criticism. ed. Dennis Poupard. Detroit: GaleResearch Company, 1985.
16:229-234.Litz, A. Walton. James Joyce. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1966.Peake, C.H. James Joyce: The Citizen and The Artist. Stanford: StanfordUniversity Press, 1977.
56-109.Pope, Deborah. 'The Misprision of Vision: A Portrait of the Artist as a YoungMan'. James Joyce. vol.1. ed.
Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea HousePublishers, 1986. 113-19.The World Book Encyclopedia. New York: World Book Inc., 1987. 3.Wells, H.G. 'James Joyce'. The New Republic.
March 10, 1917. 34-46. Rpt. inTwentieth Century Literary Criticism. ed. Sharon K. Hall.
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