James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is considered to
be one of the finest works of literature of all time. Herbert Gorman, an author
from the early twentieth century, stated that "so profound and beautiful and
convincing a book is part of the lasting literature of our age," and with good
reason. The main character of the novel, Stephen Dedalus, is a complex and
dynamic youth, and one who undergoes vast changes during the course of his life.
The main influences on him are family and religion. As his life passes,
Stephens' feelings towards these influences change drastically.
Stephen's family is very important to him. His father, Simon, plays a
major role in his early life, and Stephen has great respect for him. However,
there are instances when Stephen is angered by his fathers' actions, and resents
his statements. The growing debts incurred by Simon lead to his son's
transferring to a day school. Stephens' difficulties at his former educational
institution are relayed by his father, much to the chagrin of the younger
Dedalus. Later in the novel, Stephen loses even more respect for his father as
the familys' debts continue to grow and they are forced to move. Once, when the
two males travel to sell of the family estate, Simon returns to his former
school and converses with his former classmates. Stephen is upset to hear of
his father's wild behavior as a youth, and of his flirtatious nature. He begins
to rebel against his strict upbringing, striking back at his familys'
traditional values and way of life.
Religion is an ever present force in Stephen's life. He attends a
religious school from an early age, and is a devout Roman Catholic. He has
great reference for the priests at his school, and even fears the rector. As
his life progresses, Stephen experiences great feelings for women, and finally
gives into his desire when he encounters a prostitute in Dublin. From... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(1999, 10). Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man": a Review. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Joyces-a-Portrait-Artist-Young-Man-4908.html
"Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man": a Review" StudyMode.com. 10 1999. 10 1999 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Joyces-a-Portrait-Artist-Young-Man-4908.html>.
"Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man": a Review." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Joyces-a-Portrait-Artist-Young-Man-4908.html.