Friday, December 15, 2006

Portrait of the Artist as Young Man - post III

Joyce is able to catch you in a web of religious debate, Irish politics and the profoundity of the shift from adolesence to adulthood and leave you wondering just where you are. It is rather like falling down a water shute without anything to grip onto but occasional glimpses of the pool below to reassure you that at least you are headed in the right direction.

Bullet points between pages 158 - 228

* Having had his sinful moment and then gone to his confessor Stephen turns into the most devout church goer so much so that he is called into to get advice that he should go into the priesthood

* Initially the idea attracts him because he is seduced by the position and the power but then he has a moment when he sees his friends swimming and sees a girl (vision of a girl) who he identifies as an angel or youth and decides that the way he should live his life is by making mistakes and being real

* The family keep moving and the next scene of family activity is in a different house and Joyce manages to convey the squalor with Stephen having to wash in a bowl in the sink before heading out to University

* At university Stephen seems to have carved out a reputation as a free thinker and his comments are eagerly soaked up by students hanging off his every word and you are introduced to a couple of his friends who urge whim to sign a petition for an independent Ireland and after his refusal to sign question his loyalty to the country

* Having gone through the religious phase, the indifference and now the intellectual critic of it all he is able to spar in conversation with the dean of studies and anyone else who wants to question him on his views

More tomorrow...

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