“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 his heart with an execrations: 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 used words here in a way that I think summarizes a large theme in Stephen’s story. His yearn to be more of this world is expressed throughout the novel, however in this moment we see the “loathing and bitterness” that he wishes to “execrate” , I believe both from his own life and mind. We see the first glimpses of the way Joyce uses language to show the chaotic version of life that lives in Stephen’s mind(in his own home) versus the adventure he seeks from the outside world and the escape he craves. (will expand on in drop box).
“In a college like this, he said at length, there is one boy or perhaps two or three boys whom God calls to the religious life. Such a boy is marked off from his companions by his piety, by the good example he shows to others. He is looked up to by them; he is chosen perhaps as perfect by his fellow sodalists. And you, Stephen, have been such a boy in this college, prefect of Our Blessed Lady’s sodality. Perhaps you are the boy in this college whom God designs to call to Himself”.
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008)
Stephen feels proud of himself for receiving this honor and there is amazing imagery in this part of the novel that depicts what is going on in his mind and his idea of being a priest of God.
“The water of the rivulet was dark and mirrored the highdrifting clouds. The clouds were drifting above him silently and silently the seatangle was drifting below him; and the grey warm air was still: and a new wild life was singing in his veins.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), pg. 144
This is an interesting juxtaposition of the clouds above and the movement of water below Stephen parallels the image of the heaven above and the underworld.