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Religion in James Joyce's a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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It describes exactly the passages in the Portrait which employ the stream of consciousness method. From this point of view I found that a second reading was much easier, only because I was more aware of the motivations of the writer.

Another mode which comes to mind is modernism. Eliot himself admitted that he wrote the poem as a reaction to catastrophe of the Great War, and tried to convey its impact on the Western psyche in general. The modernist genre that sprung from this poem can be said to be characterized by futility, and the search for transcendental meaning.

Despite various points of similarity is it wrong classify Joyce as a modernist. It is framed by autobiography, and therefore possesses overall coherence. The protagonist of Joyce also comes across the futility of all conventional norms, but in the end the novel is not characterized merely by despair. The protagonist discovering himself as an artist represents hope in the end.

The novel describes the several stages by which it protagonist Stephen Dedalus discovers himself as an artist. In the process he takes refuge in the conventional identities provided by society in the various stages of his growing up. But Stephen is meant for greatness, and the conventional identities are only refuges for mediocrity, and this is what he discovers time and time again. The transiton from one stage to the next is marked by epiphanies — sudden bouts of realization that transform the inner self.

Apart from the many minor epiphanies that accompany the growing young man, there are two major such occasions. The first is his discovery of conventional faith. The second occurs when he comes to realize that the Church is a restricting influence, and that he must escape if he is to express himself as an artist.

It occurs when he must make a choice between training to be a Catholic priest, or to enter the secular domain of university. He opts for the second choice. It is a major decision, but does not yet entail that he is free to become an artist.

University opens up to him a diverse array of ideologies. Stephen comes to realize that none of the ideas that academia has to offer are able to address his inner longing towards creativity.

His final realization is that the conventional mode of Irish existence is lacking in conscience. And as an artist he has understood his role as to make up for this fundamental lack. It is a role of heroic proportions, and which only the artist is able to undertake. So the creativity which Stephen intends in not mere self-expression, it is towards creating a conscience for his race.

There are many occasions while he is growing up in Dublin when he comes to realize that there is something fundamentally lacking in what society has to offer him. In school it appears as if the appreciation of his peers is the highest goal, and he is in awe of the bullies of the classroom who command attention.

He classmates challenge him to take action, and to report the teacher to the headmaster. To his peers he is instant heroes, and they hoist him up in the air together. The striking aspect of this incident is that the glory does not register with Stephen. Even while he is being hoisted, he wants to escape their grip, and when the cheers have died down he feels himself to be an outsider just as before.

On the occasion when he is first allowed to attend Christmas dinner with the adults, he observes a vicious argument taking place with politics and religion mixed in. Casey argue for politics. However little Stephen understands of this argument, if gives him a foretaste of corruption in high places.

But more than this he comes to realize shallowness and brittleness of family life that can be unsettled by cheap religious and political talk. He comes to realize later on that his father is totally unconnected to modern life, and merely engages in nostalgia, drunkenness and superficiality. Stephen renouncing of his family is the first step towards the rejection of convention as a whole.

As be becomes more alienated from his family he starts to visit prostitutes, and in general gives himself up to a life of secret sin, even though he is wracked by guilt inside. Another moment of epiphany takes place when he is overcome by a sermon delivered by the college rector. In the meantime he had become strangely drawn towards the Virgin Mary, and when the rector delivers fiery and graphic accounts of hellfire and damnation, Stephen is genuinely terrified from the depth of his soul.

None of the other college students are effected at all, and here his outsider status impinges on him once more. The upshot is that he surrenders himself to the austere religious existence, so much so that when the time comes for him to leave college he is nominated for a scholarship for priesthood. This stage of Stephen's life is marked by the contrast between images of woman as goddess and woman as whore-the two extremes in the way that men experience the feminine energy.

This contrast embodies the conflict in Stephen's mind between the desire for holiness and the desire for sensuality. It is ironic, for example, that during the period at Belvedere College in which he makes a habit of visiting prostitutes, he becomes the leader of the sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a group that honors the Virgin Mary.

Stephen never seems to resolve his conflicted feelings about women, or to form real rather than imaginary relationships with them. At University College he deliberately distances himself from Emma, although he is still in some way attached to her, or to his idea of her.

It seems that the call of an independent artistic life is stronger than the desire for relationship. In this respect, it is significant that in Stephen's great epiphany by the river he contemplates a woman-the girl who wades on the strand-but he contemplates her in a detached way, not with any romantic or sexual interest. The girl is only a vehicle for artistic revelation. What role does Ireland play in the novel?

Ireland is part of the labyrinth of influences on Stephen that he must escape. The country is the very opposite of Stephen's ideal, because the Irish have allowed themselves to be shaped by alien forces and cultures. They are, in this view, victims of two empires, the British, which controls them politically, and the Roman Catholic, which rules them spiritually from Rome.

That this is foreign to Ireland's true nature is made very clear when Stephen, now a student at University College, enters a house owned by the Jesuits. He senses the history of the place and asks himself, "[W]as the jesuit house extraterritorial and was he walking among aliens?

The Ireland of Tone and of Parnell seemed to have receded in space" p. So the Jesuit house is "extraterritorial"; not really part of Ireland at all. Part of Stephen's quest is to break through this Irish net of foreign-dominated cultural history and create an art that is free. He has been aware, from a very young age, of the conflict in Ireland because the fierce quarrel that erupts at the family Christmas dinner makes a deep impact on him.

It shows the divisions between the Irish regarding their own history and destiny. The Church in general opposed Irish nationalism. Opposing Dante are Stephen's father and Mr. Casey, who argue that Ireland is a "priestridden" country; the Church is a harmful influence. As Stephen matures he does not so much take sides as transcend the debate. He will not side with the nationalists because he sees no hope in that path, based on the way the Irish people have treated their own leaders.

He tells his friend Davin that "No honourable and sincere man. Nor does Stephen have any interest in following the Roman Catholic church, which would merely be to follow a system and a doctrine laid out by an authority external to himself.

Stephen does want to do something for his country, but he wants to free it through art, not politics or religion. This is clear from his penultimate diary entry, when he goes to "encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race" p. Why does Stephen decide not to become a Jesuit? Stephen's decision not to become a Jesuit is more a matter of instinct than intellect.

The matter comes to a head toward the end of Chapter 4, when Stephen is summoned to the study of the director of Belvedere College. During his career at Belvedere, Stephen has become known for his piety, and his peers have chosen him to be a prefect of the sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This is what brings him to the attention of the director, who suggests that Stephen might be one of the few boys at the College who is being called to a religious life. But in spite of his outward piety, which shows itself in quiet obedience and a refusal to express any doubts, Stephen has already half-realized that he is moving beyond the sphere of the Catholic life.

He knows that for him to become a priest would be a matter only of pride, because he would then hold secret knowledge and secret power.

But as soon as he thinks of the "grave and ordered and passionless life" that would await him as a priest, every instinct he has recoils from the prospect. A key image comes when he looks into the priest's face and sees only "a mirthless reflection of the sunken day.

The director has spoken to him in terms of the eternal salvation of his soul, but for Stephen, the opposite is the case; for him, becoming a priest "threatened to end for ever, in time and eternity, his freedom" p. Log in or register to post comments. We provide an educational supplement for better understanding of classic and contemporary literature.

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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Portrait of the Artist .

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May 24,  · Because I had an assignment to write about “Ulysses,” I read Joyce’s other books too, among them his first novel, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” And how different it was! Where “Ulysses” scatters, “Portrait” holds together. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce explores the place of the individual with respect to his culture and his environment. However, when Edmund Fuller, so carelessly said that the premise of the novel is that man must worship his creativity in place of God or risk denying himself.

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Is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man a stream of consciousness novel? Yes. It is. As also are many of James Joyce's works. It is a stream of consciousness novel because . Essay on the Artist as Hero in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man Words | 6 Pages. The Artist as Hero in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce is a partly autobiographical account of the author's life .