James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man". The assignment was to write a well thought out comment on each chapter of the book.

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man begins with the reader being taken through Stephen's developing life and his conscious thought. The reader is tossed around inside Stephen's head and we learn about the character from the inside. Although I find the stream of consciousness an

interesting way to explore Stephen as a character, I believe it makes the book difficult to comprehend. As we are lead through Stephen's experiences at school I sympathize with the various situations that he encounters.

Stephen's character is easy to relate to because as children we all experience some of the same challenges that he faced.

We learn that Stephen is a very sensitive young man and he prefers to contemplate and intellectualize interactions with his classmates rather than play sports. Stephen is a very good student and he seems to get along withall of his schoolmates except for Wells the bully. Even though Wells pushedhim into a filthy ditch and taunts him about kissing his mother Stephenminds his father and does not tattle on him. Through this action we learn of Stephen's pride and courage.

As we follow Stephen's journey through childhood we learn about hislove for beautiful things. He contemplates his place in this world and the enormity of God. Stephen was upset with himself for not knowing more about politics and "where the universe ended." He felt "small and weak". I

think that Stephen was a sad and lonely young man for examining such complex and lofty topics at such a young age. I relate to Stephen being homesick and the feeling of not fitting in with my peers. I also count the days until I will see my family on holidays.

Through Joyce's imagery we explore Stephen's most basic senses like sound, smell, touch and sight. Stephen is fascinated with the sounds he discovers when opening closing the "flaps" of his ears. Stephen contemplates words that sound strange to him like suck and wine. He

describes smells like the "cold night smell in the chapel", "smell of air and rain and corduroy." These words arouse memories and in turn conjure up that smell in the readers mind. Stephen sees the colors of the badges with the different color roses and his imagination carries him away. He ponders the possibility of green roses. The sense of touch is examined with Stephen's fascination of things hot and cold. All of these senses are not only the

discoveries of a child but of a developing artist.

In the second chapter of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Stephen's

imaginative nature flourishes. He fantasizes about Mercedes in The Count of Monte

Cristo. Even though Stephen enjoyed his adventures with Aubrey Mills and the boys

from the neighborhood he found great comfort in being alone. "The noise of the children

annoyed him." Stephen listened intently to his elders conversations and he felt he was

preparing himself to take part in meaningful conversations when his time came. My

impression of Stephen is a young man that feels disconnected and isolated form his peers

and later he has these feeling about his family.

We know that Stephen is competent intellectually but his encounter with the girl on

the tram gives me the sense that he may be emotionally stunted. His inability to act on the

desire to kiss the young girl confuses him so he writes a poem about the girl. When

Stephen finds it difficult to articulate his feelings for the girl he goes to a mirror and

looks at his face and possibly questions himself sexually.

Stephen's encounter with his rival Heron is very interesting and his reaction to

Heron's harassment exhibits more of Stephen's emotional suppression. "He had thought

it strange that Vincent Heron had a birds face as well as a bird's name." Not only did

Heron look like a bird he also picked on Stephen like a bird would. Stephen did not get

angry at Heron's jesting until the mention of the young lady that Stephen had feelings for,

and even though a...
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