Narrative Of The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

RICHARD F. PETERSON

The key to the criticism of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man has been the personality of Stephen Dedalus and Joyce's own attitude or from that personality. 1 While the title clearly claims a special genius for Stephen--that of the artist--and modifies that genius by fixing it at a stage of potential or development--as a young man--critics have often chosen between "the artist" or "the young man" in their judgment of Joyce's intention in the novel.
Those who read the novel as a portrait of artistic genius usually sympathize with Stephen's ordeals, approve his aesthetic theory as Joyce's own, and see him triumphing over his treacherous environment by flying ...

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or resigned failures in Dubliners. 3
This debate over Stephen's personality and whether or not he will ever write the works of genius of his creator has obviously influenced the study of the narrative form of A Portrait. Stephen sympathizers plunge into an impressionistic flux and see that flux forming itself into a process of becoming out of which Stephen finally emerges as the artist-creator of his own life. Stephen haters remain aloof from the narrative itself and find the novel an ironic demonstration of the failure of talent or genius to express itself except in "rebellious bohemianism." 4 They judge Stephen a hopeless product of his environment, his generation, and his own sensibility.
While the debate continues between critics who argue for an impressionistic narrative of becoming and those who see an ironic narrative demonstrating a finished state, some have perceived a double vision forming the narrative. This view takes into account what appears to be both artistic ...

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external to Stephen's thoughts and actions that is both visible and audible within the narrative itself.
After A Portrait opens with "once upon a time" ( P7), the timehonored incantation of the story-teller, and a brief series of sharp impressions from Stephen's early life, the narrative of the first chapter focuses on the first crisis in the development of the artist.
Through three episodes of Stephen's childhood, we see Stephen's early, confused attempts to find his proper place in the universe. All three events--his illness after being shoved by Wells into the square ditch, the violent political quarrel at the Christmas dinner table, and the pandying from Father Dolan--disrupt ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 4/21/2011 07:46:25 AM
Submitted By: shantanas
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 5717
Pages: 21

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