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"A Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man" This Essay Discusses Certain Elements Of The Novel That Symbolizes The Main Character, Stephen Dedalus, To Joyce Himself.

1592 words - 6 pages

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce draws on many details of Joyce's own actual life, while also using fictional situations and events. Although the novel is more than just autobiographical, its protagonist, Stephen Dedalus, is essentially Joyce's "alter ego," a "fictional double," if you will. Both Stephen and Joyce share the same political and religious background and encounter the same influences and pressures. They both were the son of a devoutly religious mother and a financially clumsy father, resulting in their constant relocations. Like his protagonist, Joyce also attended the same schools, where they both struggled with questions of faith and nationality. Ultimately, both characters experience many circumstances - obsession with language and strain relations with religion, family, and culture - which eventually lead to the betrayal of their country, church, and family. Joyce makes Portrait a very intriguing novel by not only recounting elements of his own childhood through his protagonist, but by additionally depicting what it means to be a young man growing up in a confusing, modern world.A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man tells the story of Stephen Dedalus, a young man who encounters many difficult situations, until he finally finds his way and his true self. Stephen is the oldest child of an Irish Catholic family, who due to financial troubles, move from house to house on numerous occasions. As he grows older, Stephen meets many women who he is sexually attracted to. His obsession with sex finally envelopes him when he has sex with a prostitute - his first real sexual acts of many. After a very powerful sermon that Father Arnall delivers, Stephen is feeling guilty and terrified and becomes almost fanatically religious; he prays every morning and makes a daily schedule that is devoted to some religious act. Stephen even tries to conquer his obsession with women by turning away when he approaches one. However, this feeling eventually passes, and Stephen even turns down priesthood when he realizes it is not the life for him. The novel ends with Stephen leaving Ireland to pursue the life he wants - the life of a writer, an artist.Being more than an autobiography, Joyce includes fictional events in Portrait. Throughout the story, many of Joyce's family, friends, and acquaintances appear; however, only the names have been changed. Other physical settings, such as the schools, are used with their actual names. The timing of Stephen's attendance at Clonglowes is different from the time that Joyce went to the same school. In the novel, Parnell's death occurs at a much earlier time than it did in Joyce's life. In effect from their families being financial unstable, both Stephen and Joyce were forced to go to many different schools. However, one school that Joyce went to but Stephen did not is Christian Brothers' school, which Joyce went to after Clonglowes College. In the story, Stephen appears as a non-athletic type,...

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