This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.
I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use-silence, exile, and cunning (Joyce, p255)
There have been numerous conceptions regarding the word 'artist' in people's minds through history. These people were considered as artists because they have always lived in a different world from other members of their society. Indeed, they regarded themselves as belonging to a separate group of society due to their (logical and emotional response in different life circumstances) mental attitudes toward the circumstances. Artists usually perform a more sensitive attitude toward their physical and spiritual surrounding and other people's emotions, and because of this hypersensitivity, they are apt to call more worries into their lives. Furthermore, the ideals of an artist are quite different from other people. Ordinary people prefer not to risk situations which might cause a change in their conventional believes. On the contrary, artists' main objective is to shackle the conventions of a given society and they willingly accept the inevitable changes of the status qua. These big differences between an artist and ordinary people could be considered as the fact that works of art like painting, sculpture, literature, etc. or anything, which shows the artists' different attitudes, are mostly misunderstood by their people. Inalienably, artists usually live very isolated lives and are considered as aloof people. According to Health professor Amy Scholten, MPH, these characteristics sometimes brings extreme psychological pain such a depression. These gifted people bring challenges to society, which are not supported, and the isolation and detachment is repercussion for this devoid of social support (Fedak, 2012).
James Joyce is the archetype of an artist who was confined within the conventional and highly traditional boundaries of his society, which restricted him as an artist, both physically and emotionally. He tried hard to set his body and soul free from the barbed wires of society in which he was entrapped. Joyce was a distinguished child from the very initial step of his life, and his standpoint toward life was so unique that could not be endured by his family and society of the time. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi- autobiographical novel about the development of a young Irish writer from the early childhood until young adulthood. Stephan Dedalus is the protagonist of this bildungsroman, who is represented as Joyce himself. This novel does not only include Stephen's education but also mentions his spiritual growth as well as the emotional and intellectual development through his observation and reaction to the world. As the name of novel suggests, the reader can get a kind of recognition of the different stages of Stephen's life, which led to his declaration of freedom from any barbed fence which might prevent his soul from changing into a real artist. Stephen's life as an artist is not different from his other fellow artists, so his perceptions of the world, family, religion, and country are undoubtedly in conflict with the status qua of the society. As a result, Stephan as an artist feels detached from the world. Unfortunately, his unique and unfamiliar viewpoints are misunderstood by others, and he was considered as an egoistic person. This brought him a social alienation and situated him in a marginalized position within the society. Stephan has to grapple with the conventions of his family, country, and religion as the main obstacles on his challenging process of becoming an artist.
The primary social bond in Stephen's life is his family. Simon Dedalus has a crucial role in Stephan's life as father in his shaping of identity and soul. His father mainly sinks in his experiences in past, makes him a poignant, nostalgic person. Joyce symbolizes him as the bonds and burdens that Stephen's family set upon him as he grows up. His father has been depicted as a man who has grappled with financial inept issues, and instead of dealing with his problems, he tries to prevent them by drinking and drowning his soul in nostalgia. The earliest memories of Stephan are derived from a story, which represents the connection of Stephan and his father through the vision. Through the novel, the reader would discover that the vision is not a trustworthy sense for Stephan. This is the author's superb technique to utilize the language to expatriate the internal feeling of hero at that moment; moreover, the maturity of language is along to intellectual and maturity development of Stephan.
Therefore, there are simple and child like structures and vocabularies in the first chapter. Stephen senses because of the emphasis of his specialty and imagination, artistic soul are active form the initial steps of his life through the novel, and it is strived to transfer to readers by language.
Smell and color are the most significant for him. At that stage of his life, he associates his mother with smell. The primary story was told to him by his father:
"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 â€¦.. (p.7)"
The picture was painted in Stephan's mind as child by his father is that Ireland, the church, and home are tranquil and bounteous as a cow. It becomes more colorful when the moocow met a nicens little boy which is Ireland and the church positively inclined to Stephan. His father endeavors to ram a fix picture in his mind from the primary step of Stephan artistic growth's ladder, which is definitely opposite of nature of artist's soul. The representation of this story and song in initial pages of novel could be proof of the manifestation of art in Stephan life from earliest moments. His father is a remarkable ashamedness of Stephan due to his inability to rescue the family from despondency and poverty as well as his negligible world, which is limited to patronizing. He commences to loath this feeling and moves beyond from his father's world through imagination and art. The repetition of Shelley's poem, writing a poem, and the creation of Mercedes though of reading the novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, are the initial signs of transformation and save from bitter reality of his plain life to improve his distance to their family and in general ordinary society. Mary, his mother, who is another prominent figure in Stephen's life, is a religious woman. She constantly argues with her son about attending the religious services. She expresses her concern that Stephen's personality has been distorted by university life, and she is extremely disappointed about Stephen. While Stephan ponders about university, he is undoubtedly aware of the obvious fact that his mother would show hostility to this abnormal decision. Indeed, this awareness is parallel to his awareness of the special reason of his birth and the path he should pursue in life. University had awakened new anxieties in his adventurous soul as an artist, and Stephen considered it as an opportunity, which might help him fly off all the boundaries of his surroundings. The language, which most associations Stephan to his family is dismal and monotonous, and could be regarded as reliable evidence that he is not satisfied by his family. The picture of Stephen's last breakfast with his family, which is illustrated in chapter five, shows his tendency and final decision to get rid of the boundaries imposed on him by his family.
" He drained his third cup of watery tea to the dregs and set to chewing the crusts of fried bread
that were scattered near him, staring into the dark pool of the jar. The yellow dripping had
been scooped out like a boghole..(p.179)"
The word "drains" provokes a mechanical and numb sense, and most images of this breakfast are pictured as "dark pool," "yellow drippings," are unpleasant and unappetizing. Other barriers, which prevent Stephen from developing his soul as an artist could be pointed out to be politics and religion. The process of transition of Stephan during the novel is the end of the 1890, which Ireland was torn apart by religion and politics. The shadow of tension between Protestants and Catholics is on people to institutionalize religion between them. Protestant British government had strived to control the Irish-Catholic population, consequently the animosity and resentment between Protestant and Catholic people had escalated. Politics put its invisible hands on the people's neck to squeeze enough to profoundly affect their lives. The reader could witness the footprint of the debates over religion from the primary significant memory of Stephan through the Christmas dinner at chapter 1. The political discussion is about an influential liberation leader Parnell whose affair with another woman led to his downfall. The Catholic Church was criticized for condemning this Irish Nationalist leader because of engaging a personal matter with the political issue of their independence. The Secularists regard as religion is blocking Ireland from progress and independence, while the orthodox, believe religion has to consider in Irish culture and politics.
The Parnell's case could be an appropriate illustration of Ireland's problem in the eyes of Joyce. Parnell immolated his life for people who they finally discredited him for moralistic excuses. Stephen watches the argument with bewilderment. At that echelon, he does not understand politics, and it pains him, although he wishes he did. Indeed, that time is a significant milestone in his path toward adulthood, which he finds adulthood, is a medley of anger, fears, and conflicts. This growing boy stumbles on that politics not only can bring huge rifts even in one home, but also distorts the moment, which should be fraught with Christmas pleasure and contentment feeling. There are numerous images of escape from politics, which is indicated the free soul of artist, in novel. While Stephan endeavors to write a poem about Parnell, his mind is blocked. He could not depict his real ability of artistic inspiration because "his brain had then refused to grapple with the theme (p.69)". In addition, Stephan names his friend, Davin, a "tame little goose" because of signing the petition in support of one leader; accordingly, his nationalistic ideals are parallel with subservience. The pathos of this kind of blind imitation for politics abominably annoys his gentle artistic soul; consequently, he detaches himself from any engagement to politics and politicians. Plausibly, Stephan's excuse of dropping out of Irish language and culture class is not the flirting of his favorite female figure, Emma, with the priest as a teacher of that class; rather it is his reluctances to Irish culture, and particularly it indicates his effort to abscond from Irish nationalism. As one gifted person, he ponders that the repercussion of his ancestors' mistake should not overshadow his life, and he as an individual not supposed to pay the high compensation, which it is devoting his precious life on the political circumstances. Stephan seems barely to admit the political surroundings of his birth, and he strives to be far enough of any responsibilities and all of the restrictions of this circumstance enforce upon the individual on this country.
"When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets (P.210)".
The highest obstacle on his way of flying from the fences of limitation is religion, which is not separated from politics in Ireland. As a teenager, he strives to depict a rebellious behavior too his family and society, which leads him to a harmful extreme. He declines to the extreme sin; undeniably, this violation of Church rule is with his absolute awareness of his action to demonstrate himself as a different person. He closes his eyes on religion deliberately and has a decisively rejected affair with prostituted repeatedly to convince himself that he is a unique person entrapped in his society. He loses his gentle artistic soul, and is concerned in physical and worldly inspiration by passing time. Instead of feeding his mind, he commences to feed his belly. The bodily appetites are certainly parallel to his lust for his sexual desire during this extremist rebellion. The reader could discern that this sin has turn to dull and repellent thought for him through the repetition of 'dull' and 'dusk' in lines of description of Stephan 's life at that stage. Along the path of his rebellious and abnormal demeanor, he falls in another harmful extreme pious religion. After the Father Arnall's speech, he embraces Catholicism by creation of a fanatic religious devotion and obedience model. Father Arnall's speech turns around the death, judgment, hell, and heaven as four last things, which points Stephan to dwell on Doomsday. The long and detailed paint of the torments of the hell, which was brushed with color of tremendous fear and torture by Father, affects Stephan profoundly that causes the gentle artistic soul trembles to create a dark and frightening vision of hell. This image for artistic Stephan is more extremely annoying and repulsive than other ordinary teenagers like his friends, which affects on him mentally and physically. He vomits all of his repugnant and filthy sins through this vision, and he dreams fallaciously that his soul flies toward the freedom and salvation to get back his inspirations. Stephan's response to the priest's words is so excessive reaction hence he feels every word is created exclusively for him, and death and punishment are back of his life's door. This grossly excessive reply is utterly a transparent mirror of his inside unique soul. Indeed, his poetic and imagination inspiration create image of hell, which involves his artistic sensibility instead of his intellect. This new relationship to church seems to be a sort of intellectual game for him. After the start of new echelon, he becomes a taciturn person, but listens and analysis every events and speech of them to solve the puzzle made up of the vague points of his life. The encouragement of his classmates to bring challenge with a chain of ambiguous and hard theological questions is remarkable sign of his regardless to any authorities. Although the foreboding and fear overshadow him, and the ultimate respect is the fruit of terror, so he is not as critical as before and is more admitted to religion. The trick of Father Arnall is to intimidate the teenager to achieve his goal, which is revising their manner of life according to the law of God. The priests never paint a positive and warm colored picture of believing in God and live a life according to his will, and the reader presumes Stephan as an innocent child. The language is of Stephan's confession and repentance has childlike rhythms as the beginning the novel, chapter one, could be a explanation of lagging behind of his maturing process. The pervasive expression of 'my child', which the priest utters during Stephan's confession, has a special connotation of a childlike obedience to authority orders. These images of priest and authority of Catholic Church is the most explicit and precision vision for critical point of that time. While he makes his minds to confess his past sins, he feels to be in somewhere else," "but not there among his school companions". Presumably, shame and mortification are not his real motivation, but he desires to confess in a worthy place not among his classmates, who have 'boyish hearts'. Ostensibly, he treats his demeanor to be not a part of this community, which their boyishness are a sort of limitation and burden to maturity. The sense of detachment, and exile could be depicted through this decision. He currently pays extreme attention to his diet, ensures himself does not get any pleasures from his food; generally he desires to make enough efforts to torture himself physically during his sleep and wake. Indeed, the austerity is brought to his life is a signal of his desire to forget a worldly issues to achieve his lost inspiration and mind, but he soon realizes this is not a truthful path. Stephan obviously thinks his life has been revised, however he never mentions that it has enhanced, and makes him a better person. When he remains silent toward the request of the director, which is there any feelings a vocation to be a priest, it depicts this hesitation is parallel to his uncertainly about this path is truly ended to his artistic soul. At first, he is tempted by the image of being a religion leader; indeed, he is fascinated by power and maybe the secret comprehension and knowledge by being a priest. However, at the moment of imagining himself as one priest, all of the appalling pictures of his time in Clongowes, his childhood school, and the fidgety and confused feeling come to his mind. He reassures himself that this despondent life is not created for him to vindicate himself about the feeling for rejecting this religious life. In addition, while he drowns in his imagination in returning home, he notices a group of his classmates, and impatiently chats with them, which depicts his piety feeling for their immaturity, they name him in Latinate and Greek models, 'Stephenos Dedalos' and 'Stephanoumenos', which suddenly bring a sense of prophecy to him, which he had not perceived before. He ensures that his ultimate responsibility is prophecy of art, and devoting his life to solitary art. Furthermore, the name of Dedalus represents itself the scheme of flight, which refers to Greek mythology about Daedalus and his son Icarus, who are imprisoned. Daedalus is the mythical artificer, who utilizes feathers, twine, and wax to escape. He could escape effectively, but his son does not listen to his advice, and flies too high. The repercussion of this disobedience is his death due to melting his wax by sun. Stephan considers himself as Daedalus, thus feels this is the moment of escape and flies toward art. It could be noticed that Stephan avoids to put his feet following Icarus, and in order to diminish the danger of fail, he seizes the time at university to improve his aesthetic theory before his leave of country. The moment of his observation the girl in the sea, who seems as a bird and fly, is the crystallization of his cognition to his artistic soul. He creates artistic feathers to leave the dull and tedious life in Ireland. Generally, religion seems for Stephan is a last vehicle to detach far and far from suffocated Dublin, and makes himself free from any nets. Moreover, religion brings somehow a mathematical and economical personality. The description of his prayers is a sort of business with God; he transfers his concern and apprehensive feeling to the reader about his inability to collect as God's contentment to modify his personality and a noticeable difference.
"He could never know how much temporal punishment he had remitted by way of suffrage for the agonizing souls; fearful lest in the midst of the purgatorial fire (p.152),"
He imagines a kind of cash register for his prayer in heaven, and he has to purchase special amount to salvage his soul. This image is so isolated and conflicting to the Stephan's soul as a artist. The discontent of his state could be noticed though the language again by description of the priest, which transport the feeling of death to the reader at the moment of rejection the offer.
"The priest's face was in total shadow but the waning daylight from behind him touched the deeply grooved temples and the curves of the skull (p.158)."
The perceptiveness of priest's skull through the picture could be associated with death and fear, which brings a picture of discontent and failed life to Stephan. Furthermore, the priest's voice is portrayed by expressions of 'grave and cordial', which is the seal of approval to association of death. Eventually, he achieves to his artistic awakening and accepts that sin is human if humanity is in entanglement of the rigid religion or any sort of limitations. He reaches to the step of cognition, which Catholicism prevents from the ultimate experience of being true human, and he is required to abscond any threat of his freedom, and embrace the free humanity. Indeed, Stephan does not strived to set himself out of the structure of the church or religion absolutely, the main issue of him is the pressure, which Church put on human mind forcefully to believe the God's law. If the religion endeavors to place God in the people's heart with fear and soul's torture, it is undoubtedly an obligation, especially for artistic people with gentle soul. Catholic Church at that time strived to indoctrinate people in order to establish and increased its political power excessively, priests never permitted to be uttered any new ideas or words, which had brought peril of shaking their power foundation. Therefore, Stephan as an artist could not float with his imagination through these suffocated and pressured circumstances, which is a grindstone for his soul, and his abandon of country is a sign of his rebellion to this system. He believes by utilizing the belief in God and the latent beauty in this faith, he could transits to aesthetic beauty to give authentic meaning for the sense of prophecy. The significant conception of it for Stephan is an artistic mission to spread beauty and positive energy through the people. When he asserts in his explanation to his friend, Cranly, about the period of his drowning in extreme religion that he "was someone else then", his true intention certainly is that he is not so altered from those days. He has to apply the language and privileged knowledge of the priests to complete his own aesthetic mission, so he demands to cut off himself from the world as well as priests. Therefore, his new decision for new life is not fundamentally changed from his previous life, nevertheless he imagines himself as a priest with different purpose.
"a priest of eternal imagination, transmuting the daily bread of experience into the radiant body of everlasting life (p.228)."
The rigid atmosphere of Ireland does not permit him to accomplish his mission freely, Indeed the concept of artist carves profoundly in his mind that the artist's soul is required to be absolutely free of the entire familial, patriotic, religious obstacles. He strives to release from all barbed wire, which wrapped around his gentle soul, and brings torture and nuisance for his soul. He diminishes the torture of his parents, nation, and religious voice by thinking of different poem and plays, and the aesthetic theories of Aristotle and Aquinas. The moment of his assurance for his artistic arousing has spiritual indication when he leaves his house. He can forget any threats to the declaration of his independence from all limitations and obstacles by trembling away with angry toss of the head.
"He heard a mad nun screeching in the nuns' madhouse beyond the wall
-Jesus! O Jesus! Jesus!
He shook the sound out of his ears by an angry toss of his head and hurried on, stumbling though the mouldering offal, his heart already bitten by an ache of loathing and bitterness (p.181)."
His flight to independence from being in any organizations is the sign of his inspirational freedom and inalienably better imagination, and his last poem could depict his free soul. His first poem has a strict form by using only two rhymes, repeating the lines in a regular pattern for five three-line stanzas and a quatrain, which requires discipline and control, thus it represents abstract and insipid poem. However his last poem is perfectly opposite of it, which illustrates that is full of inspiration, emotional, and without any concerns about human's limitation, indeed it depicts his art's purpose is his requires to remove the daily life's issues, and transports to world of fantasy and imagination (Fogiel, 2000). Indeed, Joyce extremely believes in 'art for art's sake,' and his novel entirely is a mirror of this idea. The real artists do not have any concerns about politics and religion, and they should not dictate the way of life to people. Indeed, the artists' responsibility is spreading the beauty and optimistic points of life, detached from society and its issues to float freely in art.