Essay about A Portrait of The Deluded Artist

Essay about A Portrait of The Deluded Artist

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Few novels capture the peculiarity of the human mind as well as James Joyce’s, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Frustrating and awe-inspiring at the same time, the fleeting ambiguity with which Joyce depicts Stephen’s character leave the reader often puzzled and asking the natural question, “What is this supposed to mean?” We can then remain in this state of perplexity or try to interpret the subtle clues, dispersed throughout the book, in hope of arriving closer to the hidden meaning of what the author’s intention was for his readers to comprehend. Perhaps the most unsatisfying obscurity of this novel is its ending—is Stephen successful in becoming the liberated artist he aspires to be? Is he truly released from the bounds of external forces, or is his transformation into an independent being only an illusion? As Stephen chooses to rid himself from the religious constraints, perhaps he has only deceived himself into a delusion of attaining complete freedom and, in reality, converted to a different kind religion.
Since he is little, Stephen shows a deep appreciation of esthetics as he perceives the world through his senses. He consider the way his bed “is warm then it gets cold” as he wets it and “the queer smell” of the oil sheet his mother put on (Joyce 5). He pays great attention to sounds and smells such as how the burning of a lit gas makes “a light noise like a little song” (Joyce 9). His fondness of language can also be seen early on as he contemplates on the way draining water makes a “suck” sound (Joyce 8) or when he takes the holy communion pondering on “the word was beautiful: wine” (Joyce 39). It is in these moments we see Stephen’s appreciation for beauty, feelings, and the sounds of words alike. Stephen’s ...


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...d to objectively evaluate what went wrong, however, is a rather idealistic notion. While it would make for a soul-comforting ending, the truth is, in real life people rarely come to enlightened conclusions. Therefore the way Joyce chose to end the novel can be hardly held against him and it is left up to us as the reader to decide on our interpretation of Stephen’s victory or the lack of thereof.



Works Cited

"cunning." Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 18 Sep. 2011. .
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Oxford University Press Inc., 2008. Print.
Trosch, David C. Make All Things Right with God. 3rd. Mobile, AL: LEU Publications, 2008. Life Enterprises Unlimited. Web. 17 Sept. 2011. .

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