Effects of Religious Education on Theme and Style of James Joyce's The Portrait of the Artist as a

Effects of Religious Education on Theme and Style of James Joyce's The Portrait of the Artist as a

Length: 3473 words (9.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Effects of Religious Education on Theme and Style of James Joyce's The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


Although Joyce rejected Catholic beliefs, the influence of his early training and education is pervasive in his work. The parallels between Biblical text and The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man are abundant. As Cranly says to Stephen, "It is a curious thing, do you know, how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve" (232).

The novel progresses in a way that seems Biblical in nature; thematically it compares with the creation and fall of man and/or Lucifer. In addition, the style is at times similar to Biblical text, using familiar rhythm, repetition, phrasing and imagery.

As with the Bible, Joyce begins his novel with the importance of the word. He then relates sensual impressions, as if a newly formed creature were experiencing the physical world. Then, as the center of his universe, Stephen also learns the meaning of words and the power of words. He is like Adam bringing order to things by giving them names. But Stephen's knowledge comes not only from the material world, he learns through a sudden-knowing, similar to spiritual understanding, a process Joyce calls intuitive or epiphany. His thirst for knowledge both intellectual and sensual brings him in conflict with his father (Jesuit and heavenly). He falls from grace and experiences hell (through the power of word and his very vivid imagination). Because of his terror of hell he responds at first with repentance, but after reflection, with defiance. At the end of the novel he leaves his homeland, his place of origin, and prepares to begin a new life in a new land.

THE WORD

In the beginning was the word. Throu...


... middle of paper ...


...because of what has happened to him, but because of his response to those events. He was not the only young Irish boy to have a self-sacrificing saintly mother and an irresponsible drunkard father. He was one of hundreds if not thousands of boys to be indoctrinated and trained by the Jesuits. What made him different was his response and that response was unique to him, and that uniqueness was born in him. So, the ultimate conclusion of the novel is that the artist is born, not made by human ways, but created by the powers of nature and/or God.

Works Cited:

Joyce, James. The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1958.

Joyce, Stanislaus. My Brother's Keeper James Joyce's Early Years. New York: The Viking Press, 1993.

Levin, Harry. James Joyce, A Critical Introduction. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1960.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Stephen's Journey to Maturation in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

- Stephen's Journey to Maturation in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce   In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the author James Joyce uses the development of Stephen from a sensitive child to a rebellious young man to develop the plot of the novel. In this novel, Joyce suggests that through Stephen's experiences with religion, sexuality and education, Stephen not only becomes more mature but these experiences also inspire him to redefine his world and his understanding of his true feelings about art....   [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man James Joyce]

Powerful Essays
1231 words (3.5 pages)

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

- 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]

Powerful Essays
2139 words (6.1 pages)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Essay example

- 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]

Free Essays
2430 words (6.9 pages)

Opposing Ideals in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

- Opposing Ideals in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Stephen Dedalus, of James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, is constantly torn by two opposing ideals. One is that which the institution of the Irish Catholic Church imposes on him, and the other is insisted upon by his independent thoughts and feelings. Stephen chooses between these two ideals, and he rejects the religion offered him by his upbringing and early education in favour of individualistic thought....   [tags: Portrait Artist Young Man Essays]

Free Essays
1561 words (4.5 pages)

James Joyce Essay

- Joyce was born on February 2, 1882 in Dublin, Ireland, and he was raised in a Roman Catholic dominant family with his mother being a successful pianist and his father being a failure at holding a stable household. However, his father was an impressive singer. Joyce was an intelligent and motivated child, so he was able to teach himself Norwegian and other languages. Therefore, he was able to read and analyze many plays that no other monolingual person could. Some books he read as a child greatly influenced his writing later on....   [tags: Biography ]

Powerful Essays
2049 words (5.9 pages)

Theme of Epiphany in James Joyce's Ulysses Essay

- The Theme of Epiphany in Ulysses             James Joyce's Ulysses is a novel of epic proportions that has been proclaimed the greatest piece of literature of the twentieth century. Ulysses takes place in Dublin, Ireland on June 16, 1904. The book is full of parallels, metaphors, and experimental literary techniques. However, a dominant theme is that of epiphany. Not necessarily religious in meaning, the Joycean idea of epiphany is a sudden discovery of the essential nature or meaning of something....   [tags: Joyce Ulysses Essays]

Powerful Essays
1290 words (3.7 pages)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce Essay

- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce explores the place of the individual with respect to his culture and his environment. However, when Edmund Fuller, so carelessly said that the premise of the novel is that man must worship his creativity in place of God or risk denying himself, I was greatly disappointed due to the lack of precision of the view expounded by Fuller. Based on evidence from Joyce himself, one can see that God is still relevant. Edmund gives the impression that God to Joyce is dead....   [tags: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man]

Powerful Essays
883 words (2.5 pages)

Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

- Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets The spirit of Ireland is embodied in young Stephen Dedalus, the central character of James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Like the Dedalus of Greek myth, Stephen must grow wings so that he may fly above the tribulations of his life....   [tags: James Joyce Portrait Artist Young Man Essays]

Powerful Essays
3181 words (9.1 pages)

Essay on James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

- James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce, exemplifies the model of art it proposes as it also offers the reader on how to read that very art. Following the main character, Stephen Dedalus, through life, Joyce uses Stephen’s immediate perception to convey how an artist views the world. The reader witnesses Stephen encountering everyday aspects of life as art—the words of a language lesson as poetry or the colors of a rose as beautiful....   [tags: James joyce portrait Artist Young Man Essays]

Powerful Essays
2573 words (7.4 pages)

Essay about James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

- James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce's novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) is entirely concerned with the development of its main character, Stephen Dedalus. By comparison with Joyce's earlier version, Stephen Hero [1], we see that he has cut out all extraneous material concerning other characters, and presented a close and detailed account of the development of Stephen's character from infancy to young manhood, the ground previously covered in Stephen Hero being compressed into Chapter 5 of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man....   [tags: James Joyce Portrait Artist Young Man Papers]

Free Essays
7241 words (20.7 pages)