A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

“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.