As James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man unfolds, the central theme of isolation and rejection becomes evident. From birth to adolescence, the protagonist of the story, Stephen Dedalus, responds to his experiences throughout life with actions of rejection and isolation. He rebels against his environment and isolates himself in schoolwork, family, religion and his art, successively. James Joyce uses Stephen Dedalus' responses of isolation and rejection to illustrate the journey that the artist must take to achieve adulthood.
Even as a young boy, Stephen experienced rejection and isolation at school. On the playground Stephen "felt his body [too] small and weak amid the [other] players" (Joyce 8). His schoolmates even poked fun at his name. In response to his rejection by the other boys Stephen makes a conscious decision to "[keep] on the fringe of his line, out of sight of his prefect" and the other boys. Stephen is later depicted as choosing the "warm study hall" rather than the playground with his friends outside (Joyce 10). His rejection at school leads him to isolate himself in his schoolwork, thus putting himself on a scholarly path that will give him the intellectual skills necessary for the artist within him to achieve adulthood.
In his later years at school, Stephen's isolates himself through his "relationship to authority [and conformity] and his rebellion against it" (Ryf 27). In the classroom Stephen is "pandied" (beaten with a cane) and accused of being a "lazy little schemer" by a Jesuit priest for not completing his homework due to his broken glasses (Joyce 50). In rebellion, Stephen reports the injustice to the rector only to later discover that the rector took th...
... middle of paper ...
...g above the waves and slowly climbing the air? a prophecy of the end he had been born to serve and had been following through the mists of childhood and boyhood, a symbol of the artist forging anew in his workshop out of the sluggish matter of the earth a new soaring imperishable being" (Joyce 169). Stephen breaks with his past to achieve adulthood and an unrestricted artistic vision that allows him to connect to the world that he had rejected.
Joyce, James, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The Viking Press: New York, 1916.
Ryf, Robert S., A New Approach to Joyce. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1962.
Connely, Thomas E., Joyce's Portrait Criticisms and Critiques. Meredith Publishing Company: New York, 1962.
Litz, A.. Walton, James Joyce. Twayne Publishers: New York, 1966.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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.... [tags: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]
2139 words (6.1 pages)
- The Artist in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man and Pink Floyd's The Wall Foragers, the people who live in hunter-gatherer societies, have no artists. It is only when society becomes complex enough to support a division of labor do artists emerge-first as shamans, then as the painters, singers, writers, etc., that we usually think of today. Society, then, creates the artist, but it can also destroy him. In A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man, James Joyce describes the particular development of Stephan Dedalus that led to his becoming an artist.... [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man]
1790 words (5.1 pages)
- James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel of complex themes developed through frequent allusions to classical mythology. The myth of Daedalus and Icarus serves as a structuring element in the novel, uniting the central themes of individual rebellion and discovery, producing a work of literature that illuminates the motivations of an artist, and the development of his individual philosophy. James Joyce chose the name Stephen Dedalus to link his hero with the mythical Greek hero, Daedalus. In Greek myth, Daedalus was an architect, inventor, and artisan. By request of King Minos, Daedalus built a labyrinth on Crete to contain a monster called the Mino... [tags: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]
2903 words (8.3 pages)
- Religion and Its Effect on Stephen in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Religion is an important and recurring theme in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Through his experiences with religion, Stephen Dedalus both matures and progressively becomes more individualistic as he grows. Though reared in a Catholic school, several key events lead Stephen to throw off the yoke of conformity and choose his own life, the life of an artist. Religion is central to the life of Stephen Dedalus the child.... [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man]
1194 words (3.4 pages)
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Stephen Dedalus - Rebel Without a Cause. His soul had arisen from the grave of boyhood, spurning her grave-clothes. Yes. Yes. Yes. He would create proudly out of the freedom and power of his soul, as the great artificer whose name he bore, a living thing, new and soaring and beautiful, impalpable, imperishable Throughout A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man Stephen Dedalus is persistently portrayed as the outsider, apart from the society he and his family inhabit, connecting with no-one and seeking solitude and isolation at every turn.... [tags: Literature James Joyce Essays]
1514 words (4.3 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Literature]
2095 words (6 pages)
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man The mind wanders, on occasion, through many processions of thought. When at the beginning of this text, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, I found it difficult to follow young Stephen's meandering thoughts with any semblance of comprehension until I finished reading the novel. I then began to research the novel and Joyce and realized the significance of these seemingly random thoughts. These are the thoughts of a budding artist in infancy.... [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man]
417 words (1.2 pages)
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Silence, exile, and cunning."- these are weapons Stephen Dedalus chooses in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. And these, too, were weapons that its author, James Joyce, used against a hostile world. Like his fictional hero, Stephen, the young Joyce felt stifled by the narrow interests, religious pressures, and political squabbles of turn-of-the-century Ireland. In 1904, when he was twenty-two, he left his family, the Roman Catholic Church, and the "dull torpor" of Dublin for the European continent to become a writer.... [tags: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]
2430 words (6.9 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man]
913 words (2.6 pages)
- The Artist as Hero in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce is a partly autobiographical account of the author's life growing up. The novel chronicles the process through which the main character, Stephen, struggles against authority and religious doctrine to develop his own philosophies on life. Stephen is not necessarily rebelling against God and his father as much as he is finding his own person, creating his own life. He is an artist, not because of the outcome of his life, but because of the process he goes through to achieve that outcome. The artist is a hero because of the sacrifices he makes, the persecution he e... [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man]
1298 words (3.7 pages)