James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

English / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
This paper studies James Joyce’s autobiographical novel `Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man`.

This paper studies James Joyce’s life and works. It takes us through his youth and his changing mindset. It can be read from different perspectives including religious rebellion, sexual confusion, artistic freedom, political conviction and family influence. The paper details the story and basically summarizes it while analyzing its themes, techniques and characters.
One of the most intense water images was the first one. The water is dark and dirty and cold. Another student, Welles, whose name is suggestive of water, throws Stephen into a cesspool. The cold slime of the ditch covered his whole body . . . 1 as he struggled to pull himself out of the disgusting pit. He will recall this experience, many times throughout the novel. He remembers very clearly both the discomfort and the humiliation. How cold and slimy the water had been, 2 he remembers. The water was dark and it was impossible to see below. Stephen had been terrified that one of the boys said that a rat was seen jumping out of the cesspool. Other references to water throughout Stephen’s schooling are dungy and dismal such as the sound of dirty water running down a drain, the filthy hole of the bog water, or the dirty water that went down the hole and had made a sound like the word suck, only louder.

Just like the pit, Stephen’s psyche was deep and dark. He was just learning about himself and how he fit into the world. He was discovering the power of human sexuality and his fears about his own sexuality in the confines of a Jesuit school teaching that such impure thoughts would lead to eternal suffering. He was also confronting the essence of his spiritual beliefs and apparent hypocrisy within the priesthood. He was meeting head-on the reality of his religious beliefs at boarding school.


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