A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Summary

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  • Topic: Daedalus, Religion, The Retreat
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  • Published : December 12, 2009
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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, the main character, Stephen Dedalus has a life long desire to find a father figure. Not finding it within his own home he is forced to look out among the other men who play intricate roles in his life. Some of the men that Stephen looks to as father figures include; his dad, the dean of his school, the Jesuit priest of the retreat, his friend Cranly, and Daedelus of a Greek mythology. Again and again Stephen is faced with the disappointment of a potential father figure letting him down. It is not until all others have failed him that he finds a father figure that fulfills his life. Throughout Stephen’s life he and his father grow apart. As a child Stephen adores his father. Stephen remembers the story his father use to tell him about the moocow (1). Stephen’s memory of this story shows he put complete focus into his father whenever his father was around. Stephen’s father seems gentle and benevolent when he puts the sauce on Stephen’s plate after everyone else denies the sauce (19). As Stephen gets older he loses his bond with his father. Stephen believes his father is in a lot of trouble. Before Stephen’s family moves to Dublin he hears his father tell his uncle that he has enemies and some sort of fight is going to happen (45). This news puts a lot of pressure of Stephen and it makes Stephen pull away from his father. Stephen feels that the information that he learned makes him a part of the fight (45). Stephen’s bonds breaks even more when his father makes fun of him. Stephen’s father talked to the dean from Stephen’s school and learned that Stephen made a huge deal out of getting pandied (50). When Stephen learns they laughed about it he become very ashamed and he starts to dislike his father (50). As Stephen matures his father means less and less to him. Stephen feels ashamed of his father’s drinking so he tries to avoid the reality of the...
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