This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Theme Of Love In Joyce’s Dubliners, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, And Ulysses

2110 words - 8 pages

Theme of Love in Joyce’s Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses
 

A central theme in James Joyce’s works is that of love: what is it, and how can we discuss it? Joyce could not bring himself to use the word ‘love;’ when Nora asked him if he loved her he could only say that he "was very fond of her, desired her, admired and honored her, and wished to secure her happiness in every way; and if these elements were what is called love then perhaps his affection for her was a kind of love" (Ellmann 6). One can read Molly Bloom’s "Oh, rocks. Tell us in plain words" as Nora’s answer to Joyce’s intellectual, complicated answer (Joyce, Ulysses 64). Perhaps as a result of Joyce’s own concern and questions about love, many of his characters are also confused and looking for a definition of love. There are many kinds of love discussed in Joyce’s works, including love for ideals, family, friends, God, and most importantly, husband and wife. This paper will explore the theme of love in Joyce’s work and show that love is a basic concept in life; characters unsure of this concept need to find a concrete definition before they can be comfortable. To do this I will analyze characters from Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses, using the Greek ideals of agape; spiritual love, storge; familial love, philia; the love between friends, and eros; sexual love.

Godlike Love: Agape

Ulysses opens with Buck Mulligan calling Stephen a "fearful jesuit" and mocking church rituals as he shaves (Joyce, Ulysses 3). The two main characters of this novel, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom have each fallen from their respective faiths. They both suffer for their religious affiliations; Bloom is excluded and harassed because of his Judaism, and Stephen suffers internally because of his struggle with faith, as well as feeling guilt for being unable to bring himself to accede to his mother’s request to pray for her at her deathbed.

Stephen Dedalus, as a largely autobiographical figure for Joyce, has trouble with the definition of love. His friend Cranly asks him if he has ever felt love, and Stephen remarks that he "tried to love God" although he thinks that he had failed. Stephen cannot overcome his intellectual itemizing of love, saying, "I tried to unite my will with the will of God instant by instant" (Joyce, A Portrait 512). His confusion stems from thinking instead of feeling, leaving him unable to comprehend what he considers the most basic form of love, that of agape. Stephen’s concept of love is only "an inchoate desire for the insubstantial image of his soul’s creation" (Dibattista 171). This seems a spiritual motive, but it is also a selfish one because he is concerned only for his own soul, which is not the selfless agape, with itself as its only reward. If he cannot achieve this basic form of love, it is difficult to move on to the other forms (Lockett). Stephen, like Joyce, has rejected religion. His confusion...

Find Another Essay On Theme of Love in Joyce’s Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Religion

1037 words - 4 pages called upon to see Joyce's schoolfellows in two ways at once. They are characters in a novel, bigger than life, and they are real people like me and my school and college pals. (280) The Catholic religion is a significant and recurring theme in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Though brought up in the church, several major events lead Stephen to defy the lessons of his Catholic school education and choose a life of his own

A "Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man" Analysis

1379 words - 6 pages In "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", the main character, Stephen Dedalus has a life long desire to find a father figure. Not finding it within his own home he is forced to look out among the other men who play intricate roles in his life. Again and again Stephen is faced with the disappointment of a potential father figure letting him down. It is not until the end of the book, when Stephen looks back over his life, that he has an idea

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Essay

764 words - 4 pages James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which takes place in late 19th century Ireland, is a modernist Bildungsroman about Stephen Dedalus, a young man who, while facing the obstacles of his family, religion, and nation, tries to discover his life's purpose. Throughout the novel, Joyce takes the readers through Stephen's labyrinthine life, using techniques such as epiphanies, betrayals, and central images. One of the three

Imagery and Maturation in "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"

1559 words - 6 pages James Joyce’s, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, serves as a psychological look into the maturation that occurs within children as they constantly absorb different elements of life. Stephen Dedalus represents what most boy experience while growing up, and his struggles and triumphs serve as an ideal example for the bildungsroman genre. Of the numerous themes within the novel, Joyce’s inclusion of vivid imagery and sensory details provide

Comparing The Dead and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

3433 words - 14 pages The Dead and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man   Unlike the preceding stories in Dubliners, which convey the basic theme of paralysis, "The Dead" marks a departure in Joyce's narrative technique.  As one critic notes, in this final story of Dubliners:  "The world of constant figures has become one of forces that, in relation to each other, vary in dimension and direction" (Halper 31).  Epstein has offered some insight into Joyce's

Essay on Kinship in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

1533 words - 6 pages Search for Kinship in Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man       At the heart of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man lies Stephen Dedalus, a sensitive young man concerned with discovering his purpose in life. Convinced that his lack of kinship or community with others is a shortcoming that he must correct, Stephen, who is modeled after Joyce, endeavors to fully realize himself by attempting to create a forced

The Esthetic Theory and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

1405 words - 6 pages The Esthetic Theory and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man    In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedalus defines beauty and the artist's comprehension of his/her own art. Stephen uses his esthetic theory with theories borrowed from St. Thomas Aquinas and Plato. The discourse can be broken down into three main sections: 1) A definitions of beauty and art. 2) The apprehension and qualifications of beauty. 3) The

James Joyce's Alter Ego in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

1462 words - 6 pages 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

Motifs in "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young man"

1206 words - 5 pages 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

Literary devices used in "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"

887 words - 4 pages Joyce has used the name Daedalus as a literary vehicle to give the reader a sense of deeper understanding about Stephen as a character in "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man ". There is a link between Stephen Dedalus and the Greek mythological figure Daedalus and this becomes apparent to Stephen when he hears his friends say his name in Greek. When Stephen compares himself to the "fabulous artificer" their similar plight reveals itself. The

Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

3116 words - 12 pages must grow wings so that he may fly above the tribulations of his life. As he matures, Dedalus begins to understand his position in life, and decides to rise above the turbulent Ireland of the early 1900s in a rebellion against society, a struggle against his beliefs and a struggle against his heritage. Joyce wrote A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in the decade preceding its first publication in 1916. The early 1900s was a turbulent

Similar Essays

James Joyce’s A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

1989 words - 8 pages The need for the protagonist, Stephen Dedalus’ artistic expression is emphasized in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Joyce juxtaposes Stephen Daedalus’ creativity with a commitment to his catholic religion while on his odyssey to find his identity. Which calling will he answer to—artist or priest? The text follows the protagonist through both his positive and negative experiences with priests and his early revelations of

Stephen Dedalus' Perception Of Aesthetics In James Joyce’s Novel A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

1138 words - 5 pages Aesthetics is the philosophy of art. By appreciating the value of aesthetics, one can comprehend the meaning of the abstract notion of beauty. In James Joyce’s novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedalus’ perception of aesthetics is a key component in the main character’s pursuit of individuality and purpose. Through the use of literary techniques such as diction and tone, Joyce conveys the protagonist’s aesthetic development

Essay On The Artist As Hero In A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

1313 words - 5 pages The Artist as Hero in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man        A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce is a partly autobiographical account of the author's life growing up.  The novel chronicles the process through which the main character, Stephen, struggles against authority and religious doctrine to develop his own philosophies on life.  Stephen is not necessarily rebelling against God and his father as much as he

A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

5843 words - 23 pages pervert, possibly a homosexual known to many in Joyce's Dublin. An old man, he tells them tales about young girls and finally about boys being whipped. His sadistic pleasure at torture comes as a shock to the narrator. He finally notices that the man has 'bottle-green' eyes. Through the image of these 'green eyes' Joyce suggests that it is this absolute sexual Other that he had been both tempted and frightened to 'encounter'. Instead of an escape he