Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In: English and Literature

Submitted By calynch27
Words 5021
Pages 21
Chapter 1
The Christmas dinner dispute introduces the political landscape of late nineteenth-century Ireland into the novel. This is the first Christmas meal at which Stephen is allowed to sit at the grown-up table, a milestone in his path toward adulthood. The dispute that unfolds among Dante, Mr. Dedalus, and Mr. Casey makes Stephen quickly realize, however, that adulthood is fraught with conflicts, doubts, and anger. This discussion engenders no harmonious Christmas feeling of family togetherness. Rather, the growing boy learns that politics is often such a charged subject that it can cause huge rifts even within a single home.
Dante's tumultuous departure from the dinner table is the first in a pattern of incidents in which characters declare independence and break away from a group for political and ideological reasons. Indeed, the political landscape of Ireland is deeply divided when the action of the novel occurs. Secularists like Mr. Dedalus and Mr. Casey feel that religion is keeping Ireland from progress and independence, while the orthodox, like Dante, feel that religion should take precedence in Irish culture. The secularists consider Parnell the savior of Ireland, but Parnell's shame at being caught in an extramarital affair tarnishes his political luster and earns him the church's condemnation. This condemnation on the part of the church mirrors Stephen's shame over expressing a desire to marry Eileen Vance, who is Protestant. On the whole, however, Stephen's reaction to his family's dispute is sheer bafflement.
These chapters also explore the frequently arbitrary nature of crime and punishment. The fact that the boys in Stephen's class at Clongowes know that they will all be punished for the transgressions of the two caught "smugging" indicates that they are accustomed to unfair retribution. Furthermore, none of the instances of wrongdoing mentioned…...

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Portrait
of
the
Artist
as
a
Young
Man”:
Shaping
Identity By
April
16
2012 Powell Texts
and
Contexts 16
April
2012 “A
Portrait
of
the
Artist
as
a
Young
Man”:
Shaping
Identity The
first
scene
of
James
Joyce’s
novel
“A
Portrait
of
the
Artist
as
a
Young
Man”
presents the
protagonist,
as
a
child
then
as
a
young
man.
This
scene
condenses
the
journey
by foreshadowing
the
challenges
the
protagonist
will
experience
leading
to
him
becoming
the
artist he
was
meant
to
be:
we
are
introduced
to
three
major
forces
that
shape
his
identity
and
thoughts; Irish
Nationalism,
Catholic
Identity,
and
sensitivity. James
Joyce’s
choice
of
Dublin,
Ireland
at
the
end
of
the
19th
century
as
the
setting
is critical
for
this
novel.
Ireland
was
experiencing
oppression
and
reform
from
their
conquerors,
the British.
The
political
dimension
of
this
time
period
is
introduced
using
the
implications
of
song. The
music
is
used
to
represent
the
struggle
for
Irish
independence
which
is
a
consistent
theme throughout
the
novel.
The
song
begins
with
“O,
the
wild
rose
blossoms”;
when
a
plant
is
wild
it
is often
growing
rampant
implying
that
it
is
an
unwelcome
weed
in
an
environment
that
is
not
its own.
Suffocating
all
other
life
“on
the
little
green
place”
which
is
Ireland.
The
song
ends
with Stephen
pondering
“O,
the
green
wothe
botheth”;
if
the
rose
were
green
instead
of
red
implying Irish
independence
however,
still
saying
the
rose
is
still
a
rose
regardless
of
the
color.
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