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Motifs In "A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man"

1206 words - 5 pages

The Portrait concentrated on stating themes, arranging apparently transparent words into configuration of utmost symbolic density. For example during the passage where the director proposes Stephen to enter priesthood , words like "the looped cord", "the shadow"," the skull , twice emphasized waning daylight , "cross blind, "blind to the cross","blinded by the cross" all convey the denial of nature and entrapment for Stephen which the Priest's office represent for Stephen.The central image, the epiphany of the interview is the contained in the movement of the priests fingers: "slowly dangling and looping the cord of the other blind". that is to say ,coolly proffering a noose. (pg.175)The contrapuntal openingThe first two pages, the story his fathers tells to Stepehn, is an Aristotelian catalogue of senses, faculties, and mental activities played against the unfolding of the infant conscience.Throughout the Joyce's work , the senses are symbolically disposed. Smell is the means of discriminating empirical realities. sight corresponds to the phantoms of oppression, hearing ti the imaginative life. Touch and taste together are the modes of sex.The dawning consciousness of his own identity where he identifies himself with the moocow leads to an artistic performance, where by dislocating the spellings and changing the red rose to green , he makes the song his own. This is hugely expanded in chapter five:"now , as never before, his strange name seemed to him a prophecy ... of the end he had been born to sever and had been following through the mists of childhood and boyhood, a symbol of the artist forging anew in his soaring impalpable imperishable being."The overture ends with Stephen hiding under the table awaiting the eagles which will pull out this eyes. He is hiding under something most to the time , bedclothes, the enigma of a manner , an indurate rhetoric, of some other carapace of his private world.Theme wordsIt is through names that things have power over Stephen . talking of his Deans language he says, which is a language of a conqueror"the language in which we are speaking is his before its mine. His language , so familiar and so foreign , will always be for me and acquired speech"Joyce causes patterns of words to make up the very moral texture of Stephen's mind. The word "suck" he associates with a playful sinner toying with his indulgent superior , and the disappearance of dirty water. The force of conjunction is felt after the confession, where the habitually orthodox penitent asks forgiveness from a God who pretends to be angry , after a reconciliation the process is repeated. A mark of this kind of play is disgraceful servility. Each time the sin disappears , the sinner is mocked by an impersonal voice out of nature: "Suck"Throughout the first chapter an intrinsic linkage , white-cold-damp-obedience ,insinuates itself repeatedly.Stephen after saying his prayers," his shoulders shaking", "so that he might not go to hell when he died",...

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