“He started up nervously from the stoneblock for he could no longer quench the flame in his blood. He felt his cheeks aflame and his throat throbbing with song. There was a lust of wandering in his feet that burned to set out for the ends of the earth. On! On! his heart seemed to cry.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (143)
The beginning of this chapter was focused around Stephen’s religious routines and new found devotion. However, that section was devoid of Stephen’s trademark creative flair and dramatics. This passage is where I noticed a dramatic change in tone, and the language becomes more passionate and dramatic. Stephen’s language had very little passion in the beginning section, but after this passage, the chapter becomes filled with passion and descriptive imagery. Stephen seems to break free from his stale religious routine and embraces his love of life and creativity.
“The snares of the world were its way of sin. He would fall. He had not yet fallen but he would fall silently, in an instant. 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 unfilled, but about to fall.”
-James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, (pg. 175)
This passage was the split for me in the story’s tone with how his once very structured and formal speech reverted back to repeating phrases/words, dramatically long sentences, and how one thought took up a whole a paragraph. From this paragraph on the story reads in a very similar way to chapters 1 and 2 versus how it read during chapter 3 and the beginning of chapter 4 (older and more religious influenced Stephen).
“He offered up each of his three daily chaplets that his soul might grow strong in each of the three theological values, in faith in the Father Who had created him, in hope in the Son Who had redeemed him and his love of the Holy Ghost Who had sanctified him; and this thrice triple prayer he offered to the Three Persons through Mary in the name of her joyful and sorrowful and glorious mysteries.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Pg. 125)
I love the way this passage begins to sound like a prayer, especially in the end with “her joyful and sorrowful and glorious mysteries.” There is no change in punctuation to show that this is anything different from traditional narration, but I think this is an example of the Uncle Charles principle. This is a clear tone shift from ealier in the novel- now it is noticeably more religious. As Stephen becomes more religious and a “good Catholic” his thoughts may become almost prayer-like.
“His evenings were his own; and he pored over a ragged translation of The Count of Monte Cristo. The figure of the dark avenger stood forth in his mind for whatever he had heard or divined in childhood of the strange and terrible. At night he built up on the parlour table an image of the wonderful island cave out of transfers and paper flowers and coloured tissue paper and strips of the silver and golden paper in which chocolate is wrapped. When he had broken up this scenery, weary of its tinsel, there would come to his mind the bright picture of Marseilles, of sunny trellises and of Mercedes.”
-James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, (pg. 68)
This passage was interesting to me, because this brought to mind the discussion from our previous class about how Stephen displays signs of having a highly creative mind. This passage displays his ability to use common objects (usually considered trash) to create something, in this case a scene from a book he likes.
“The light spread upwards from the glass roof making the theatre a festive ark, anchored among the hulks of houses, her frail cables of lanterns looping her to her moorings.”
– James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Pg. 78)
The theater, in this context, is regarded to as a woman, with pronouns such as “her” used to describe it. This is interesting as this occurs after Stephen comes face with a beautiful woman, and perhaps the narration shows how he is thinking of her even while describing architecture.
“-God help us! he said piously, to think of the men of those times, Stephen, Hely Hutchinson and Flood and Henry Grattan and Charles Kendal Bushe, and the noble-men we have now, leaders of the Irish people at home and abroad. Why, by God, they wouldn’t be seen dead in a tenacre field with them.” -James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
“Words which he did not understand he said over and over to himself till he had learned them by heart: and through them he had glimpses of the read world about him.”
Joyce, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” 52.
In chapter one of “Portrait,” we saw Stephen’s developing mind make sense of the world around him through the investigation of words (ex. when Stephen analyzes the different uses for the word “belt,” or when he meditates on the sound of the word “suck”) (Joyce 7, 8). In chapter two, as Stephen matures, we don’t receive the same associative childlike thinking as before, but can still recognize from the content that we are privy to the workings of Stephen’s mind.
“She too wants me to catch hold of her, he thought. that’s why she came with me to the tram. I could easily catch hold of her when she comes up to my step: nobody is looking. I could hold her and kiss her”
James Joyce, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”, Oxford World’s Classics, New York 2000, pp.58
Are these thoughts truly the thoughts of Stephen, or are they something he was was lead to assume do to the societal influences surrounding him?