A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man By James Joyce

801 Words4 Pages
From the very beginning of the novel, “A Portrait of the Artist as a young man” by James Joyce we meet Stephen Dedalus. From there, we perceive the world exactly as Stephen perceives it. Through sounds, smells, and sensations we learn everything that Stephen is learning and many times in incredibly specific detail. Stephen's overly sensitive reactions and consistent use of imagery is proof to us that Stephen is "different" and views the world from an artist’s perspective. This uses of imagery and motifs by James Joyce is used to describe how Stephen is able to interpret the world around him. Furthermore, Joyce reveals this through the name of the main character. Joyce’s ability to make stories realistic was one of the reasons that he was such a tremendous success as a writer. Specifically, his use of imagery to establish motifs and symbols to provide a consciousness flow throughout his work that almost transports you into Stephens memories. If we can understand this imagery, then we can better understand Stephen's life and the time and place he lived in. “Stephen or Steven is a masculine first name, derived from the Greek name "Stephanos", in turn from the Greek word, meaning "wreath, crown, honor, reward", literary "that which surrounds or encompasses" and in Greek mythology, Daedalus was a skillful craftsman and artist". The portrait of the artist as a young man is not a story about a portrait or a piece of art by an artist but the artist himself. It is about the experiences and difficulties in his life that lead him into finding his passion, his purpose and himself. Joyce also uses the name Stephen Daedalus for his protagonist as a reference to the builder of the Cretan Labyrinth. As the story goes, Daedalus, an architect, created a maze called the Labyrinth to house a half-man, half-bull upon the Kings request. To keep the secret of the Labyrinth safe, the King imprisoned Daedalus and his son in the Labyrinth too. Trying to escape Daedalus created two pairs of wings from feathers and wax which he and his son used to fly from the island. His son, who did not heed his father's warning and took too much pride in believing he had outsmarted the King. He flew too high into the sky and the wax melted
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