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Packet Seventeen Essay

964 words - 4 pages

Part One
James Joyce was an Irish poet, who from a young age, was urged to become a priest by friends and family, yet he decided to become a writer. He later left Ireland, and moved to the continent. Joyce was especially interested in the psychological conflicts of ordinary people. His novella, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, is a semi-autobiographical of himself when he was younger. It also shows stages of Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development, like the problem with intimacy and commitment, to the negative identity, which is the opposite of what parents would wish their children to be. “they explore possibilities and begin to form their own identity based upon the ...view middle of the document...

“He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music”. In the Diffusion of Time Perspective, “the adolescent finds it impossible to plan for the future, or to retain any sense of time” (Davis and Clifton). Stephen is caught in an internal battle of wanting to please his family, but also wanting to be true to himself, in which each of the outcomes are opposites of one another. Here, we begin to see “psychosocial moratorium”, “where the individual is in a state of crisis and is actively searching among alternatives in an attempt to arrive at a choice of identity”.
Finally, we see Stephen adopt the “Negative Identity”, which is where the adolescent takes on the opposite characteristics of what their parents wish them to be. This “occurs when adolescents feel that the roles their parents and society expect them to fulfill are unattainable or unappealing, yet they cannot find any alternatives that are truly their own” (Gates). Stephen, by rejected the college and priesthood, is rejected what his parents and friends expect from him. “He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld”. To others, Stephen may appear to be rather rude during this, but that is the nature of this change that is occurring. “The lasting outcome of this stage can be a capacity for fidelity” (Theory of Psychosocial Development).
All in all, A Portrait of of the Artist as a Young Man shows every step of Erikson’s Identity Diffusion. This shows that no matter who we are, we all eventually go through these stages in our life. From the intimacy with someone beginning to occur, from becoming what our parents don’t want us to be, we begin to connect the dots. It doesn’t matter if you lived in 1820, or 1000, or 2014, every person...

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