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Stephen is initially singled out from the other boys by Father Dolan because he is different. He asks Stephen, "Why are you not writing like the others?" and though Stephen's teacher explains that he has broken his glasses and been exempted from work, Dolan immediately decides Stephen is a "lazy little schemer" (294). The fact that Stephen wears glasses suggests he is sensitive, intellectual, and physically delicate, he "sees" life differently than others. More imaginative and introspective than his fellow classmates, Stephen already exemplifies the qualities of an artist. It is this uniqueness, symbolized by Stephen's visual abilities (or disabilities), that brings him to Father Dolan's notice. Perhaps Joyce is pointing out that being an artist will always draw the suspicions of those who see life in more simplistic terms; for people like Father Dolan, force and authority are far more important than art and truth.
Though the physical pain caused by the pandy bat is intense, once it fades Stephen becomes increasingly indignant at the injustice of Father Dolan's punishment. He did not deserve it since "the doctor had told him not to read without glasses" (297). "Then to be called a schemer before the class" when Stephen was usually first or second in his studies was "unfair and cruel" (297). It was cruel the way the prefect had paused to steady his hand in order to cause Stephen the greatest pain, unfair that he had been publicly characterized as a schemer, and unjust because he had done nothing wrong.
Prompted by a classmate's remark that "the senate and the Roman people declared that Dedalus had been wrongly punished" (298), Stephen equates his experience with other great acts of injustice throughout history and identifies with those "great persons" who protested injustice; "history was all about those men" (298-9).
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"Analysis of the Pandying Scene in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Oct 2019
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Urged by his classmates, but most of all urged by his own moral sense, Stephen goes to the rector's office to protest his unfair treatment. He haltingly explains to the rector that Father Dolan pandied him even though it had been explained to the prefect that Stephen was not writing his theme because he had broken his glasses (302-3). Though the rector tries to insist that Father Dolan must not have understood, Stephen refuses to be satisfied by this,pointing out that "Father Dolan said he will come in tomorrow to pandy me again for it" (303). The rector then volunteers to speak with Dolan himself and asks Stephen "Will that do now?" (303). Stephen assents and gratefully leaves to join his classmates. The fact that Stephen has successfully explained his case and obtained a tardy justice from the prevailing authority is a great moral triumph for him. Instead of being oppressed by the corrupted moral authority of Father Dolan, Stephen is "happy and free" (305). And his artist's conscience, which has been successfully awakened to serve Stephen's own principles of right and wrong, does not serve him alone. His classmates cheer him as one of their own, his triumph is also theirs, and he is well on his way toward his artistic mission of f orging "the uncreated conscience" of his race (526).