A Closer Look

“The first day in the hall of the castle when she had said goodbye she had put up her veil double to her nose to kiss him: and her nose and eyes were red. But he had pretended not to see that she was going to cry. She was a nice mother but she was not so nice when she cried. And his father had given him fiveshilling pieces for pocket money. And his father had told him if he wanted anything to write home to him and, what he did, never to peach on a fellow” (Joyce 7).

“He could not get out the answer for the sum but it did not matter. White roses and red roses: those were beautiful colors to think of. And the cards for first place and second place and third place were beautiful colours too: pink and cream and lavender. Lavender and cream and pink were beautiful colours to think of. Perhaps a wild rose might be like those colours and he remembered the song about the wild rose blossoms on the little green place. But you could not have a green rose. But perhaps somewhere in the world you could” (9).

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.

tags: family, color, symbolism, rose, Stephen, new places

1 thought on “A Closer Look

  1. It is interesting to see how Joyce chose to endow this young character with such sensibility. The discourse of the narrator makes us readers feel as if we were in Stephen head; we witness his experiencing of life, him dealing with emotions, his own and the others’. The significance of colors throughout the novel and especially in this second extract is noteworthy, it emphases Stephen’s exacerbated sensibility and senses. This first part of the novel, featuring Stephen as a child is – as for me – the very best part of the novel. The author succeeds in transcribing Stephen’s thoughts, passing from a color to a memory, finally ending up with wondering if colors are all the same wherever you are in the world. This last sentence of the second extract reminds me of the passage on page 12:

    ” He turned to the flyleaf of the geography and read what he had written there: himself, his name and where he was.
    Stephen Dedalus
    Class of Elements
    Clongowes Wood College
    Sallins
    County Kildare
    Ireland
    Europe
    The World
    The Universe

    That was his writing: and Fleming one night for a cod had written on the opposite page:
    Stephen Dedalus is my name,
    Ireland is my nation.
    Clongowes is my dwellingplace
    And heaven my expectation. “

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