English 303 AP
9 February 2011
Coming of Age
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a complete work of art, complete in the sense that it gives such great insight to human nature and the people of the world. The title is essentially what this novel represents. The “coming of age” is represented like a portrait because it takes a long time, with many different attempts, to reach the final work of art. In even greater context, the protagonist experiences a series of epiphanies in which he gains insight into his own nature and into the people of the world. In the main characters “coming of age” there are crucial components that are lost and gained, which can be derived from his love of family, religion, and art.
Stephen Dedalus, the main character, is what many would consider a typical boy with a normal childhood. His family loves him and they support him with essentially anything he would need. Stephen is taught well as a young boy whose parents grapple with many problems for themselves, yet always seem to show the difference between right and wrong. As Stephen grows older his family’s struggles become his own problem whenever finances force them to move, therefore making Stephen the new kid at school.”No life or youth stirred in him as it had stirred in [his father and his friends]. He had known neither the pleasure of companionship with others nor the vigour of rude male health nor filial piety. Nothing stirred within his soul but a cold and cruel and loveless lust. His childhood was dead or lost and with it his soul capable of simple joys and he was drifting amid life like the barren shell of the moon.”(76) School shows to be a challenge in itself as he has problems fitting in, but eventually he finds his place in the “social circle”. As Stephen grows even older and moving now into his teenage years family is becoming one of his lesser problems. Although his family may not always physically be there, Stephen has roots...