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James Joyce's Alter Ego In A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

1462 words - 6 pages

James Joyce's Alter Ego in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Works Cited Missing
In James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen
Dedalus, a young man growing up, has many of the same traits of the
young James Joyce. For example, "On 1 September 1888, at the age of
'half-past-six', Joyce was taken by his parents to be enrolled in the
finest Catholic preparatory school in Ireland, Clongowes Wood College,
situated about twenty miles west of Dublin in the countryside near
Clane"(Anderson, James Joyce 15). This is the same school Stephen
Dedalus attends in the novel. This is one of the many ways James Joyce
uses this novel to portray his life. James Joyce's A Portrait of the
Artist as a Young Man can be read autobiographically.

According to David Daiches, James Joyce "...transmuted autobiography
into objective action..."(Daiches). James Joyce wrote an account of
his life and turned it into an interesting story, and also one of the
greatest books ever written. Joyce is letting the reader know all
about himself through this book. Harold Bloom notes " 'A Portrait of
the Artist as a Young Man,' of course, is autobiography…Joyce is
turning himself inside out, spilling forth all the jangled moods that
lie deep in artistic consciousness"(Bloom 38). Joyce brings himself
out in Stephen. Instead of letting the reader know all about himself
through an original autobiography, he simply lets Stephen be his alter
ego and tells his life through Stephen. He lets all his thoughts and
ideas go through Stephen.

It was a troubling time for Joyce when he first tried to write his
life story. "Joyce first attempted to draw his self portrait on
January 7, 1904, four months after the death of his mother. On that
day, commissioned by the editors of a new Dublinmagazine called Dana,
he wrote... 'A Portrait of the Artist'" (Anderson, A Portrait of the
Artist as a Young Man: Text Criticism, and Notes 257). Joyce wanted to
let all of the emotions of his life out at this point in his life by
telling his story. The death of his mother was very hard for Joyce,
and this is how he tried to overcome her death.

Joyce is trying to tell the reader of all the successes he has had in
his life without bragging. Instead of trying to make himself look
better, Joyce tells his story through Stephen. "… Joyce sees Stephen
as an autobiographical hero who triumphs over his tawdry environment
of squalor, stupidity, and treachery, by rejecting it, flying past the
'nets' of family, nation, and church to find his own identity"
(Anderson, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Text, Criticism,
and Notes 447). Joyce makes the novel a mere study of his life. "As
indicated by the title, Stephen Dedalus, in all essentials, is James
Joyce, and the Portrait is an...

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