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The Changing Mind Of Stephen Essay

950 words - 4 pages

To paint a complete portrait of Stephen, James Joyce uses a stream of consciousness in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man that varies in complexity as Stephen ages. As Stephen ages his consciousness begins to analyze and criticize the world. Although his complexity of language increases, Stephen concentrates on a few topics which are marked by epiphanies such as sex, religion and Ireland. The narrator emulates Stephen’s mind at stages of development from the simplicity of early language to the awareness in the later chapters. Joyce uses a change in syntax, imagery and choice of detail to illustrate the change in consciousness over time.
The opening lines to A Portrait of the Artist as ...view middle of the document...

When hearing the threats Stephen turns them into a song, “Pull out his eyes. Apologize Apologize. Pull out his eyes.” This is a new step in his consciousness as he is expressing himself through poetry. This event also results in the shaping of how Stephen views religion. The idea of punishment and religion are tied together and remain together in Stephen's mind throughout the book.
As Stephen attends a Jesuit private school the power of religion is shown. In Stephen’s time at school, Joyce uses the vision of the cricket bat to illustrate his growing consciousness, “In the soft grey silence he could hear the bump of the balls: and from here and from there through the quiet air the sound of the cricket bats: pick, pack, pock, puck: like drops of water in a fountain falling softly in the brimming bowl.” With every hit of the cricket bat Stephan is impacted by an experience and his consciousness is affected. Like the echoing sound of a bat as it dissipates, or the drop of water spreading through the water, events spread and effect Stephen’s overall consciousness. In this chapter specifically, the image of the bat is created as Stephen faces the idea of religion's punishment. Father Dolan has an urge to punish Stephen even though he is innocent. This extends the epiphany of religion as being about punishment. Although at this point in time Stephen in innocent he becomes worthy of punishment.
The Belvedere retreat has a profound effect on Stephen. Father Arnall's sermon is filled rhetoric that concentrates on the punishment and brutality of hell. Throughout his sermon Heaven is not mentioned. Father Arnall’s sermon follows the “pull out your eyes, apologize” idea of religion...

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