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The Key Elements of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Essay

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The Key Elements of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man     


James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man provides an introspective exploration of an Irish Catholic upbringing. To provide the reader with a proper interpretation, Joyce permeates the story with vivid imagery and a variety of linguistic devices. This paper will provide an in-depth of analysis of the work by examining its key elements.

The central theme of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is Stephen Dedalus' alienation and separation from his trinity of family, country and religion. Stephen's separation from his family is evident when he literally flees from his father by "walking rapidly lest his father's shrill whistle might call him back." Stephen's separation from his clique is demonstrated by his adoration of the poet Byron, who his schoolmates (Boland & Heron) deem as a "heretic and immoral." Boland and Heron then proceed to attack Stephen with "a fury of plunges" that leaves Stephen "half blinded with tears." Other violent disagreements with his peers can be found when while attending Clongowes Wood College he is pushed into a ditch by Wells (a class bully) and catches a fever. The illness results in Stephen's desire to "go home" The theme of Stephen Dedalus' alienation with his religion is evident in his connection with the church. The Dedalus family live a resolute Catholic life and expect Stephen to share their beliefs. Stephen directly questions the authority of the church when he asks.

 
"Is baptism with a mineral water valid? How comes it that while the first beatitude promises the kingdom of heaven to the poor of heart the second beatitude also promises to the meek that they shall possess the land? Why was the sacram...


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...foreshadowing's importance, can be found in the fact that the story begins with a flashback to when Stephen was a very young child. As the narrative of his life continues, flashbacks are implanted.

 
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce is a well written exhibition of the Irish Catholic life of an artist. Stephen Dedalus, infamously connected to the mythical Deadalus, becomes independent of his family, religion, and nation. To adequately illustrate his life, actual Irish dialect is used and intense images are presented. Thereby creating an introspective analysis of an artist.

Works Cited and Consulted

Bloom, Harold. Modern Critical Interpretations: James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York:Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: New American Library, 1991


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