A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Essay

1512 Words7 Pages
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Stephen Dedalus - Rebel Without a Cause? His soul had arisen from the grave of boyhood, spurning her grave-clothes. Yes! Yes! Yes! He would create proudly out of the freedom and power of his soul, as the great artificer whose name he bore, a living thing, new and soaring and beautiful, impalpable, imperishable Throughout A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man Stephen Dedalus is persistently portrayed as the outsider, apart from the society he and his family inhabit, connecting with no-one and seeking solitude and isolation at every turn. Does this self-imposed exile lead to or directly influence his artistic awakening or not? This essay will examine (both thematically and stylistically)…show more content…
The effect is claustrophobic but also highly instructive as the reader walks beside Stephen on his journey of self-discovery. The readers, discerning as they are, will groan at some of Stephen's poetry and mawkish ideas but they cannot deny that they are seeing what Stephen sees and experiencing his life first hand. Stephen starts as an object - Baby Tuckoo - in his father's story of his early years and is thus without his own identity. Later, at Clongowes, he is either gripped with embarrassment as he fails to connect with his peers or speechless at a family Christmas dinner as debate and anger rages around him. He is isolated, associating only with the sounds of words (belt, iss, suck) and other stimuli. He doesn't understand the schoolboy argot and his consequent victimisation is all too predictable as his peers react with typical schoolboy nastiness to a boy who doesn't fit in. In protesting his palm-whipping, however Stephen not only wins back the respect of his peers but also performs his first act of rebellion or independence. As a young boy, this apartness appears too real and solid to be something he just grows out of or learns to subsume and he turns to literature as a means of escape. It is no mere chance that Stephen enjoys The Count of Monte Cristo the story of choice for many schoolboys seeking escape from the imprisonment of school and the cruelty
Open Document