Erik Erikson’s Adolescent Theory and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Erik Erikson’s Adolescent Theory and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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Each experience and interaction has an effect on the development of the person as an adult and shapes them into the personality and even physical appearance they will take on as they mature. Those with the strongest influence, namely family, religious figures, and others whom one comes in frequent contact with will have the greatest effect on a developing being. It is between the stage of childhood and adulthood that the most change takes place. This position, called adolescence, is the state of a person coming of age yet not completely independent, it is this state that the psychologist Erik Erikson’s adolescent theory becomes prominent. “Erikson was an ego psychologist. He emphasized the role of culture and society and the conflicts that can take place within the ego itself.”(McLeod) It is Erikson’s theory that brought about the thought of an identity crisis that occurs in this stage of life. According to Erikson’s thought of identity diffusion there are four major components; intimacy, diffusion of time perspective, diffusion of industry, and negative identity. These can each be found in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as each of these factors are clearly represented in the novel.

The first component mentioned by Erikson is the notion of intimacy which is shown through the relations taking place between the main character of Artist and his sexual partners in his adolescence. In the novel the main character, Stephen, begins as a young catholic boy who is then put through school and as his family begins to lose money he must be removed to a less expressive school so his father can continue to pay the tuition fees for his education. Stephen becomes increasingly embarrassed by his family situation and the ...


... middle of paper ...


...my identity, who I want to be, and what my values are.




Works Cited

Cherry, Kendra. "Intimacy Versus Isolation." About. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 May 2014. . second

Jones, Cheryl. "Identity and Adolescents: How Adults Can Help." NCYL. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2014. . fifth

Luyckx, Koen, et al. "Time Perspective and Identity Formation: Short-Term Longitudinal Dynamics in College Students." N.d. MS. Third

McLeod, Saul. "Erik Erikson." Simply Psychology. N.p., 2008. Web. 4 May 2014. . first

Sen, Suvarna. "ADOLESCENCE: A PERIOD OF STRESS AND STRAIN." Mental Health Reviews. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2014. . Fourth

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