A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is considered to be one of the finest works of literature of all time. Herbert Gorman, an author from the early twentieth century, stated that "so profound and beautiful and convincing a book is part of the lasting literature of our age," and with good reason. The main character of the novel, Stephen Dedalus, is a complex and dynamic youth, and one who undergoes vast changes during the course of his life. The main influences on him are family and religion. As his life passes, Stephens' feelings towards these influences change drastically. Stephen's family is very important to him. His father, Simon, plays a major role in his early life, and Stephen has great respect for him. However, there are instances when Stephen is angered by his fathers' actions, and resents his statements. The growing debts incurred by Simon lead to his son's transferring to a day school. Stephens' difficulties at his former educational institution are relayed by his father, much to the chagrin of the younger Dedalus. Later in the novel, Stephen loses even more respect for his father as the familys' debts continue to grow and they are forced to move. Once, when the two males travel to sell of the family estate, Simon returns to his former school and converses with his former classmates. Stephen is upset to hear of his father's wild behavior as a youth, and of his flirtatious nature. He begins to rebel against his strict upbringing, striking back at his familys' traditional values and way of life. Religion is an ever present force in Stephen's life. He attends a religious school from an early age, and is a devout Roman Catholic. He has great reference for the priests at his school, and even fears the rector. As his life progresses, Stephen experiences great feelings for women, and finally gives into his desire when he encounters a prostitute in Dublin. From this point forward, he views his life as an immoral one and makes many attempts to correct it. He goes so far as to deprive all of his senses from any form of
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