The Analysis of Catholicism and the Artist Essay

The Analysis of Catholicism and the Artist Essay

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James Joyce’s novel “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” illustrates the confused state of a generation split by religious divergence and thus lack of ability to evolve towards modernism. With the incorporation of Protestant belief and ceremony by the English, traditional Catholic faith within Ireland was challenged with alteration. This abrupt integration of Protestant worship illuminates the strange inability of a post-English Irish culture to advance into a modern more “spiritual” world, mostly unrestricted by religious philosophies. Joyce illustrates how Irish culture has been ripped apart by its own faith, not by that of the English. Through the incorporation of an opposing faith, England created a sense of alertness within the Catholic community, thus, their faith was enforced more strictly, declaring anyone whom was not devoted to Catholicism a traitor to not only God but their country. It is this creation of fear and isolation that has left modern Irish culture confined within its religion, unable to progress. Although born by the name of Maewyn Succat, St. Patrick was later given the baptismal name of Patricius (or Patrick) by Pope Celestine. It was this baptism into Catholicism and Patrick’s arrival in 432A.D. which marks the beginning of Ireland’s Catholic identity. It is this religious identity which not only attracted future Catholic setters into Ireland but furthermore worked to create a sense of culture and society that was once vague. It was not until 1541 with the declaration of Henry VIII as king that this cultural identity would be challenged. With almost no power despite a few counties outside the city of Dublin and a few small coastal towns, Henry III wasn’t taken very seriously by the mainly No...

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...ue perspective to integrate into such a restrictive society. Even the ships in the above passage yearn for company, as in Ireland there is no one to share in their “exultant youth”. Although today’s more modern conception of religion is loose spirituality, Ireland is not a part of this “advancement”. It does not have enough experienced thinkers from the outside world to become so. As the sea slams its weight against the jagged coast, a culture is trying to break through to the bedrock of Ireland as well. However, it is halted, because it is not the culture defined by the religion they wish it to be, the people push on, blinded in search for a culture that does not exist. Ireland was never bound to Catholicism; it was bound to the unification of its people. However, its people cannot be unified when taught to believe that the only way it can occur is through religion.

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