“She had wanted to put her hands on something in this room to prove it; the dream had never permitted her to do so.”

Barnes, Djuna, and T. S. Eliot. Nightwood. New York: New Directions, 1961. Print. 68.

This section of the passage draws attention to the narrators inability to proceed with the action she wants to do. It’s reminiscent of Untouchable where Bakha wishes to speak out in the crowd, but feels something inside holding him back. It connects to other characters as well when we consider that when a character is forbidden from doing something, it only makes them want too more. In Portrait, many of Stevens desires are kept within, because the religious upbringing he has makes him feel shame for having them. Eventually, this causes him to rebel and only pursue the actions more.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“A glow of desire kindled again his soul and fired and fulfilled all his body. Conscious of his desire she was waking from odorous sleep, the temptress of his villanelle. Her eyes, dark and with a look of languor, were opening to his eyes. Her nakedness yielded to him, radiant, warm, odorous, and lavishlimbed, enfolded him like a shining cloud, enfolded him like water with a liquid life: and like a cloud of vapour or like waters circumfluent in space the liquid letters of speech, symbols of the element of mystery, flowed forth over his brain.” (187-188)

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

The imagery and comparisons are dominating  this quotation. Stephen seems to be describing a feeling of love and lust by saying the words desire, temptress, warm, and radiant all together. This feeling of “mystery” lingers with him as he thinks about this experience.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“It was not thought nor vision though he knew vaguely that her figure was passing homeward through the city. Vaguely first and then more sharply he smelt her body. A conscious unrest seethed in his blood. Yes, it was her body he smelt: a wild and languid smell: the tepid limbs over which his music had flowed desirously and the secret soft linen upon which her flesh distilled odour and dew” (196).

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

Unrest seething into blood like an unstoppable force. Fighting desire by resistance.