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The Use of Stream of Consciousness in Joyce's a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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  • Feb. 2013
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The Use of Stream of Consciousness in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Abstract
Writers of the first decades of the twentieth century became fascinated by the inner lives of teeming impressions , and by the mental activities of meaning – making which constitute our private inner lives. The works of Irish writer James Joyce are distinguished by their keen psychological insight and use of various literary techniques; most notably "stream of consciousness" which is an attempt to write in the manner in which thoughts and memory actually work in our minds.

This study is an attempt to examine the ' steam of consciousness ' as a technique used in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) which is one of the greatest of modern novels. Joyce arranged his novel in five chapters which trace the protagonist's life, Stephen Dedalus, from boyhood to young manhood.

In this study , a careful examination of this technique is carried out through moving from the innocence of childhood to frenzied episodes of adolescent lust and then to a calm contemplation of women, aesthetic theory independence and art .

Introduction
' Stream of consciousness' is a narrative technique in non dramatic fiction intended to render the flow of myriad impressions-visual, auditory, physical, associative, and subliminal-that impinge on the consciousness of an individual and form part of his awareness along with the trend of his rational thoughts."

This term was first used by the psychologist William James in The Principles of Psychology (1890). James was formulating a psychological theory where he had discovered that " memories, thoughts and feelings exist outside the primary consciousness appear to one, not as a chain, but as a stream , a flow ."

In his introduction on the use of this narrative technique, Robert Hurley shows that It was first used, as a literary term, in the late 19th century. This term is " employed to evince...