Analysis of James Joyce's Literary Techniques in the Novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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  • Topic: Thought, Daedalus, Mind
  • Pages : 2 (601 words )
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  • Published : May 9, 2011
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Throughout the course of the novel, Joyce illustrates Stephen in several different positions of thought, from innocence to rebellion to strict piousness to liberation. It is this final stage of development through which Joyce utilizes an extended metaphor, as well as an allusion and emotional diction to portray Stephen’s growth into a free, independent, and matured persona. The extended metaphor of flight is used to show the liberation Stephen feels from his former ways of thinking and living. He declares that “An instant of wild flight had delivered him…”, and describes the experience as if “His soul was soaring in an air beyond the world and the body he knew was purified…” By referring to himself as “delivered”, “purified” and “beyond the world”, Stephen casts away his old methods of thinking and in comparison sees his new disposition as being enlightened. This flight is then extended to that of a hawk or an eagle, in that “His throat ached….to cry piercingly of his deliverance.” He puts this into sharp contrast with the “dull gross voice…the inhuman voice that had called him to the altar.” By using words with a usually religious connotation, such as “deliverance”, Stephen compares his experience to one of a religious epiphany. However, it is rather contradictory that Stephen would choose these words, as in the same sentence he bitterly reflects on his old, pious life. This hints that Stephan, although he has made large strides in development, is not done maturing. Joyce’s choice of diction also largely reflects on Stephen’s newly found freedom of thought. The experience itself is depicted heavily with repetition, such as when he describes “An ecstasy of flight made radiant his eyes and wild his breath and tremulous and wild and radiant his windswept limbs.” This arbitrary, repetitive description contrasts deeply with Stephen’s former pious persona, in that his thoughts and actions were strictly scheduled and directed. Joyce’s word choice also represents the...
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