A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Chapter 4

“Not to fall was too hard, too hard; and he felt the silent lapse of his soul, as it would be at some instant to come, falling, falling, but not yet fallen, still unfallen, but about to fall.┬áHe crossed the bridge over the stream of the Tolka and turned his eyes coldly for an instant towards the faded blue shrine of the Blessed Virgin which stood fowl-wise on a pole in the middle of a ham-shaped encampment of poor cottages.”

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

Stephen turns his eye coldly at the sight of the Virgin Mary shrine. This moment signifies a vast change in his previous religious beliefs.

A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man

“No, said Heron, Dedalus is a model youth. He doesn’t smoke and he doesn’t go to bazaars and he doesn’t flirt and he doesn’t damn anything or damn all.”

Stephen is described as a “model youth” despite his actions and how he truly feels inside. In reality, Stephen is sensitive, dissatisfied, and a bit confused.

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