Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

882 WordsNov 11, 20084 Pages
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man tells the story of Stephen Dedalus, a boy growing up in Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century, as he gradually decides to cast off all his social, familial, and religious constraints to live a life devoted to the art of writing. Right at the beginning of the novel is the epigraphy Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes. This loosely translates into “he sent his soul into unknown arts.” This epigraphy is the bases of the novel; how Stephen explores is body and soul to find out who he really is. The unknown arts are ways in which Stephen finds his inner self and then is able to live life to the fullest. Like his namesake, the mythical Dedalus, Stephen hopes to build himself wings on which he can…show more content…
His point is that true art must be above the common fray of mankind. When you are able to achieve this, you have become an artist. At this point Stephen has begun to make his inner life more important than his outer life or his social life. This realization of the importance of the inner life sets him apart from his classmates. His independence and awakening of his inner self is just another step on the path of finding out who he is. For Stephen the journey pursing unknown arts was a way to figure out who he was. He didn’t worry about what others thought of him or what they told him to do. It simply tried to figure out what he could to do to be the best person he could be. In the process he was able to awaken his soul and his inner self. He realizes that he does not need to be mothered and guided, as his emotional, spiritual, and artistic development has given him the vision and confidence to show himself the way. Through his art Stephen will not just create literature, but will create
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