“…the people… they are church-broken, nation-broken — they drink and pray and piss in the one place. Every man has a house-broken heart except the great man. The people love their church and know it, as a dog knows where he was made to conform, and there he returns by his instinct.”
Barnes, Djuna, and T. S. Eliot. Nightwood. New York: New Directions, 1961. Print.
This passage focuses on conformity and returning to such conformity when one ventures to find themselves. In Nightwood Nora knows who she must be and who she is expected to be. Her sense of conformity and feeling judged is heightened. Similarly, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Stephen was so young and lonely. He knew he could not be what other expected but still wanted to please others. He wants attention, to be himself and if he cannot get that he almost seems as if he would rather die. Most similar to Nightwood is Untouchable. The sense of conformity and knowing your place is evident throughout this entire novel. The caste system greatly affected not only people’s lives but how they viewed themselves. How could they feel as if they had worth and value if no one else did. Their Eyes Were Watching God also focuses on a system of class and how others a viewed. Particularly African Americans in Hurston’s novel feel they must stay out of the light and feel that they are beneath others. In each novel there is at least a single character who feels as if they are stuck by the views of their family or even society. This sense of conformity is still seen as a major theme in many more current novels today.
“And to distinguish between the beautiful and the sublime, the dean added. To distinguish between moral beauty and material beauty. And to inquire what kind of beauty is proper to each of the various arts. These are some interesting points we might make up.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. pg. 159.
Difference between beautiful and sublime and how this affects Stephen. What does he distinguish himself as?
“Now, at the name of the fabulous artificer, he seemed to hear the noise of dim waves and to see a winged form flying above the waves and slowly climbing the air. What did it mean? Was it a quaint device opening a page of some medieval book of prophecies and symbols, a hawklike man flying sunward above the sea, a prophecy of the end he had been borne to serve and had been following through the mists of childhood and boyhood, a symbol of the artist forging anew in his workshop out of the sluggish matter of the earth a new soaring impalpable imperishable being?” (Joyce 163)
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Bantam Books, 1992. Print.
In this passage, Stephen Daedalus has a revelatory moment where his heritage and his future culminate and he crosses over from boyhood to manhood, albeit in his own, self-aware way. The word “artificer” implies a multitude of people who have “crafted” Stephen, so to speak. It most likely points to the mythological Daedalus, whose name causes Stephen’s revelation, but it also points to his own Father, Simon Dedalus, and even to God who supposedly created all things. This moment, and Stephen’s vision of Daedalus flying towards the sun, constitute a “quaint device” not just for Stephen but the novel itself, acting as a symbol for both the character and the work itself. This symbol of Daedalus’ invention (which kills his son Icarus) relates also to the work of an artist, described as a “being.” This compares art to Daedalus’ inventions, but the word “being” draws a comparison to his son as well, ultimately construing art as the sort of living, “imperishable” child of Stephen Dedalus.
“His heart trembled in an ecstasy of fear and his soul was in flight. His soul was soaring in an air beyond the world and the body he knew was purified in a breath and delivered of incertitude and made radiant and commingled with the element of the spirit. An ecstasy of flight made radiant his eyes and wild his breath and tremulous and wild and radiant his windswept limbs”
Joyce, James, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Dover, 1994. 121.
Rare exaltation of spirit. Repetition of words is salient here.
“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.”
“It was very big to think about everything and everywhere. Only God could do that. He could think only of God. God was God’s name just as his name was Stephen. Dieu was the French for God and that was God’s name too; and when anyone prayed to God and said Dieu then God knew at once that it was a French person that was praying. But though there were different names for God in all the different languages in the world and God understood what all the people who prayed said in their different languages still God remained always the same God and God’s real name was God” (Joyce 10).
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Bantam Books, 1992. Print.
What is the nature of this linguistic breakdown of the word “God”? Does it take away from God’s power? This is an early indication of Dedalus’ critical view of religion.
“He still tried to think what was the right answer. Was it right to kiss his mother or wrong to kiss his mother? What did that mean, to kiss? You put your face up like that to say goodnight and then his mother put her face down. That was to kiss. His mother put her lips on his cheek; her lips were soft and they wetted his cheek; and they made a tiny little noise: kiss. Why did people do that with their two faces?”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), pg. 11
“All the people. Welcome home, Stephen! Noises of welcome. His mother kissed him. Was that right? His father was a marshall now: higher than a magistrate. Welcome home, Stephen!” (16)
This passage stood out to me as when Stephen comes home from school the first time two things he references are things kids made fun of him for previously, kissing his mom and his father not being a magistrate.
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
“Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo. . . . ”
The first few lines of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man suggest that Joyce is trying to portray the characteristics of a young child. The words “moo cow” “nicens” and “baby tuckoo” could be words that would come from a child.
Class of Elements
Clongowes Wood College
The Universe …
What was after the Universe? Nothing. But was there anything round the universe to show where it stopped before the nothing place began? It could not be a wall but there could be a thin thin line all round everything. It was very big to think about everything and everywhere. Only God could do that…When would he be like the fellows in Poetry and Rhetoric? … That was very far away. First came vacation and then the next term and then vacation again and then again another term and then again the vacation. It was like a train going in and out of tunnels and that was like the noise of the boys eating in the refectory when you opened and closed the flaps of the ears. Term, vacation; tunnel, out; noise, stop. How far away it was!”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), pg. 8-9
Limitations of Stephen’s consciousness, self-awareness, awareness of the vastness of both place and time.
“How far away they were! There was cold sunlight outside the window. He wondered if he would die. You could die just the same on a sunny day. He might die before his mother came. Then he would have a dead mass in the chapel like the way the fellows had told him it was when Little had died. All the fellows would be at the mass, dressed in black, all with sad faces.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), pg. 19
Stephen is so young yet so lonely that he almost seems like he is dreaming of dying and hoping for it. He wants the attention that dying brings.
“But, O, the road there between the trees was dark! You would be lost in the dark. It made him afraid to think of how it was.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), pg. 14
One of the earliest examples of the delay of referent due to the fact that ‘it’ is never clarified.
“It was cruel and unfair to make him kneel in the middle of the class then: and Father Arnall had told them both that they might return to their places without making any difference between them. He listened to Father Arnall’s low and gentle voice as he corrected the themes. Perhaps he was sorry now and wanted to be decent. But it was cruel and unfair. The prefect of studies was a priest but that was cruel and unfair. And his whitegrey face and the nocoloured eyes behind the steelrimmed spectacles were cruel looking because he had steadied the hand first with his firm soft fingers and that was to hit it better and louder.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 43.
This is the first time Stephen’s opinion of the church and priesthood in general began to reflect his father’s almost. He seems conflicted because of his high thoughts of priests and the church, and yet he was cruelly and wrongly punished by a priest himself. And then Father Arnall was being decent to the other students?
“How foolish his aim had been! He had tried to build a breakwater of order and elegance against the sordid tide of life without him and to dam up, by rules of conduct and active interests and new filial relations, the powerful recurrence of the tide within him. Useless.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 82.
Compared to the free indirect discourse in Chapter One, Stephen’s Chapter Two voice is more difficult to pick out of the third-person narration. Stephen’s voice is “growing up” with him, and as evident of the amount of figurative language Joyce uses here, Stephen’s identify as a writer is also developing.