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Essay James Joyce and Catholicism in Portrait and Dubliners

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Joyce's Juxtaposition of Catholicism and Aesthetics James Joyce was a prolific Irish writer who wrote about Ireland and the troubles the people of Ireland faced. According to the Volume Library Encyclopedia, with Ireland being about 94 % Roman Catholic, religion is a motif brought forth prominently in Joyce's works. In Dubliners, his book of short stories as well as his supposed autobiography, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce shows religious turmoil and indecision through his characters. Stephen Dedalus, the main character in the journal-like story of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, goes through an internal turmoil of his own throughout the entire book on how he would view religion. He shows certain extremities of…show more content…
On this retreat he hears sermons about sin, hell, and guilt among other things. Through hearing Father Arnall's sermon about hell he is scared and horrified recognizing hell as his imminent destiny. He takes a nap and has nightmares of creatures waiting for him in a field like in hell. He applied these to himself and began to hate the life he lived. "His soul sickened at the thought of a torpid snaky life feeding itself out of the tender marrow of his life and fattening upon the slime of lust"(Portrait 151) After a time period of chronic sin and negligence to his faith, Stephen tried fervently to regain his faith through repentance and reconciliation. In his repentance he tells the priest this, "His sins trickled from his lips, one by one, trickled in shameful drops from his soul festering and oozing like a sore, a squalid stream of vice. The last sins oozed forth, sluggish, filthy." (Portrait 159). He suddenly viewed life differently and it seemed that his old life of sin was abolished with his religious epiphany on his retreat. He viewed life in a new light. "Life became a divine gift for every moment and sensation of which, were it even the sight of
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