A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man Essay

A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man Essay-44
Weaknesses in his stream of consciousness are still evident, as it is apparent that he is struggling with emotions such as guilt that inhibit his ability to think rationally.

Weaknesses in his stream of consciousness are still evident, as it is apparent that he is struggling with emotions such as guilt that inhibit his ability to think rationally.

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For many years, critics assumed that Stephen Dedalus was a faithful autobiographical portrait of the author.

Joyce's attitude to his protagonist is a complex question, on which many critics have disagreed.

He would fade into something impalpable and then be transfigured.

Although he never meets anyone in the real world who can accomplish all this for him, his first sexual experience, with a prostitute, gives him a taste of the surrender and loss of self that he had fantasized about: "He closed his eyes, surrendering himself to her, body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark pressure of her softly parting lips" (p. But instead of transfiguration, all this experience produces for him is overpowering guilt.

In this view, then, the Portrait is an ironic look by the older-and presumably wiser-James Joyce at his youthful self. The object achieves its epiphany." When this episode appears in A Portrait (in Chapter 5), the three qualities from Aquinas are altered slightly, to become wholeness, harmony and radiance. ) is also an epiphany, since an epiphany, Joyce has Stephen say in Stephen Hero, can also be "a memorable phase of the mind itself." In this case, the epiphany is a sudden realization about life that uplifts the soul. As a young boy, his romantic imagination is captured by the girl Emma.

Other critics argue that neither position is wholly correct. According to Aquinas, the three things needed for beauty are integrity, symmetry, and radiance. Stephen explains, "The instant wherein that supreme quality of beauty, the clear radiance of the esthetic image, is apprehended luminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness and fascinated by its harmony is the luminous silent stasis of esthetic pleasure, a spiritual state" (p. The most famous epiphany in A Portrait is the moment Stephen perceives the girl wading in the strand: "A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea. He is excited by her presence, and he writes poems to her.

The word epiphany does not actually appear in A Portrait, but Joyce does use it in Stephen Hero, the draft on which A Portrait was based: "By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation. At one point, when sixteen-year-old Stephen is feeling guilty about his visits to the brothels, he elevates Emma to an almost goddess-like status, imagining himself appealing in remorse to her.

The young Stephen is also fascinated by another female figure who can live only in his imagination, and that is the fictional character Mercedes.

They claim that in Stephen there are elements of the romantic hero as well as the ironic undercutting of such a figure. By epiphany, Joyce meant a sudden revelation, a moment when an ordinary object is perceived in a way that reveals its deeper significance. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments." An epiphany occurs as part of the perception of beauty, Stephen says, as he explains his aesthetic theory to Cranly (in A Portrait, it is Lynch to whom he explains the theory). It is when the last quality, radiance, is perceived, that an epiphany occurs. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful sea creature" (p. Another epiphany occurs later, when Stephen watches the swallows from the steps of the library (pp. The penultimate entry in his journal ("Welcome, O life! But Emma is never presented directly in the novel; usually she is referred to only by the pronoun, "she." She remains a shadowy figure, however vividly she looms in Stephen's imaginative life.

According to this view, Joyce presents a sympathetic portrait of the trials of a sensitive, intellectual young man as he grows up, and the novel is at once an attempt to understand the young man as well as expose some of his faults. An epiphany can produce in the perceiver a moment of ecstasy. This is how Stephen explains it in Stephen Hero: "Its soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance. It seems she lives more in his idealized romantic fantasies than in a real, flesh-and-blood relationship.


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