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Joyce Critic Essay

1532 words - 7 pages

The setting of the story is one of huge most crucial pieces of information for a story. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce, his setting of Dublin, Ireland and many other places such as schools and homes, that are very descriptive and very visual. Joyce used many of the same points and places in the book, that one can find in real life. Such actions at the time, in his style of writing, was unheard of. Some analysis of the setting and different character that Joyce uses in the book can be see in real life. Some of the examples include, streets where Joyce's character Stephen was meeting prostitutes. Many of the schools that Stephen attended, still stand today. Joyce ...view middle of the document...

He kept on the fringe of his line" ( Joyce pg. 8). What this quote shows is, because Stephen felt intimidated by the other larger boys, he moved to the side of the playing field. This would be the start of many situations where Stephen moves to the side to get out of the radar of others. Since this event is so early in the story, it is the foundation for later actions by Stephen. Childhood development experts also agree that social statuses in the early school years really define actions later down the road. Dr. Levine, a published child development expert wrote this, "Children are very influenced by their peers, and these social experiences help shape a child's values and personality starting as early as the first recess" ( Levine). By using a real school as where Joyce's fictional characters goes, Joyce aimed to connect the reader to where he went and what he experienced as a student. This also in entailed to evolve into the reader connecting on a personal level with Joyce's writing. Maybe another person who has read the story also has had the same event happen to them at the same school. The personal connection is needed to further the development of Stephen. Another example of a real setting, shaping a fictional character comes from a slightly different place than the playground. Stephen was at school when he lost his glasses. This caused him to not be able to work as the other children did. This was insubordination and lying according to the teacher, which was a good cause for a beating. " A hot burning stinging blow to the palms caused his to shutter and crumple in pain" ( Joyce 50). These punishments were quite common in the Catholic schools and where looked upon as the most effective punishment. " it was common law in many Catholic educational establishments to use corporal punishment for in loco parentis, in the place of the parent" ( Levine). Critics praise Joyce for writing about every detail of his childhood, even the painful moments. " Joyce's use of the punishment for Stephen to show how gritty and how vile schools were in his time. These moments really embrace the style of Joyce" ( Farrell). A third example of this comes from the setting of the back alleys of Dublin. Stephen is introduced to the grime of the real Dublin at a very early age. " I have to leave a message down in George's Street" ( Joyce 86). This street is a real street on the west side of Dublin where all the prositutes and bars are. It was known as a rough part of town and people stayed away if they could. Since Stephen was introduced to it as a place to get away from problem, his father, he uses the streets as a second home. " Stephen grew up in the back streets of Dublin, city of paralysis. Using it as an escape from his other life" ( Farrell). Critics agree that the setting of Dublin was perfect for Stephen to develop another life. The setting was not the only character affected by the real setting.
The whole Dedalus family is brutally affected by the real...

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