James Joyce’s novel, ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’, is a classic example of a

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James Joyce’s novel, ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’, is a classic example of a küntslerroman, a type of a bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story, which focuses on the maturation of an artist. The theme of Stephen Daedalus’ intellectual development as an artist recurs throughout this narrative by way of the recollection of his memories and the sensory descriptions he is able to provide. The cultivation of Stephen’s art is evidenced by his growing fascination with words and stories, Though Stephen’s artistic prowess and interests do not seem to be confined to just one denomination, evidenced by the way that he creates songs out of conversations, “Pull out his eyes, / Apologise…”(2), he seems to appreciate words more than anything…show more content…
The descriptions of events in his mind, often limited to variants of hot and cold, serve as a demonstration of the ambiguous meanings descriptions can have. It is the exploitation of this quality of words that serves as an example to Stephen’s growing artistic acuity. Though his vocabulary does expand, as it does with age, and his art of imagery does mature, his descriptions are often variants on his childhood memories. Stephen first recalls sensory details “when [he] wet[s] the bed” and at “first it [was] warm then it [got] cold”(1). These descriptive words begin with one meaning each, good or bad, but over time, they evolve and benefit his descriptions in new ways. Stephen later describes Eileen’s hands as, “long[,] thin[,] [and] cool”(28). Though “cool” originally was associated with negative things, here, it most nearly means dainty or feminine, something that Stephen is attracted to. His descriptions serve as an example of how words, even in their most basic elements, never mean just one thing, just like a true artist. Another example of a way that Stephen appreciates words is when “He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music”(14). This thought serves as an example of Stephen’s close emotional attachment to words and how he perceives meaning both through what words might actually mean and what they might sound like. It is through these developments, his evolution of descriptions
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