A Portrait of the Artist

“He shook the sound out of his ears by an angry toss of his head and hurried on, stumbling through the mouldering offal, his heart already bitten by an ache of loathing and bitterness. His father’s whistle, his mother’s mutterings, the screech of an unseen maniac were to him now so many voices offending and threatening to humble the pride of his youth. He drove their echoes even out of his heart with an execration: but, as he walked down the avenue and felt the grey morning light falling about him through the dripping trees and smelt the strange wild smell of the wet leaves and bark, his soul was loosed of her miseries.”

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 147.

Joyce turns voices or words into almost tangible things. Stephen has to physically “shake” the voices out to clear his head and to make room for his own voice, which seems to be marked by the almost poetic/writerly “grey morning light falling” and “strange wild smell.”

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