Monday, March 24, 2008

God and Religion in A Portrait Of The Artists As A Young Man

In the novel, A Portrait Of The Artists As a Young Man, written by James Joyce the main protagonist Stephen Dedalus faces trialing decisions when it comes to his religious views. Stephen is a young boy growing up in an adults society he is easily influenced by the actions of others. In this novel James Joyce takes the reader on a journey through the young boys life growing up in a strictly religious society where defying God is seriously shunned.

In the passages on pg 26 kissing the mother scene James Joyce suggests the idea that a kid as old as Stephen should not be kissed by his mother at night or any time for that matter, which in turn is ironic because a mother is a person that you would kiss, love and show affection towards. The authors purpose in writing this passage was to show the affects of bulling and the level of maturity amongst teens in this society, “ ‘Tell us Deadlus do u kiss your Mother every night before you go to bed?’ Stephen answered ‘ I do’ Wells turned to the other fellows and said: ‘O, I say , here’s a fellow says he kisses his mother every night before he goes to bed’. The other fellows stopped their game and turned around, laughing. Stephen blushed under their eyes and said; ‘I do not.’ Wells Said ‘Here’s a fellow who says he doesn’t kiss his mother before he goes to bed.’ They all laugh again. Stephen tried to laugh with them he felt his whole body hot and confused in a moment. What was the right answer to the question? Wells knew precisely what he was doing by asking Stephen if he kisses his mother at night before he goes to bed, Its just Stephen who didn’t catch on no matter what answer Stephen gave Wells and the boys were going to make fun of him either way and that was exactly the authors meaning in this passage.

In this next passage on page 28 Stephen analyses God, his meaning , and the way in which people contact him. Stephen is very much so, over analyzing God here, its almost as if he’s doing it to figure himself out which I believe to be the authors purpose in writing this particular passage. “ He tried to think of what a big thought that must be but he could think only of God. God was god’s name just as his name was Stephen. Dieu was the French word for God and that was God’s name too; and when anyone prayed to God and said Dieu than God knew at once that it was a French person that was praying. But though there were different names for God in all different languages in the world and God understood what all of the people who prayed said in their different languages still God remained always the same god and God’s real names was God. It made him Tired to think like this. It made him feel his head very big.” Stephen picks apart every element of God and analyzed it very deeply which is the point James Joyce was trying to portray upon the reader. That and also the idea that Stephen had something deeper he was trying to unleash maybe something a little more personal than what God’s name means.

James Joyce has put at lot of meaning into this work of literature, A Portratit Of The Artist As A Youbg Man, Thought the character Stephen Deadlus, his surrounding, and the people involved within him in his life. Stephen goes through a trialing Journey trying to find who he truly is and how important God and religion are to him.

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