Tag Archives: universe

Sick in his heart

” He drank another cup of hot tea and Fleming said:
– What’s up? Have you a pain or what’s up with you?
– I don’t know, Stephen said.
– Sick in your breadbasket, Fleming said, because your face looks white. It will go away.
– Oh yes, Stephen said.
But he was not sick there. He thought that he was sick in his heart if you could be sick in that place. Fleming was very decent to ask him. He wanted to cry. He leaned his elbows on the table and shut and opened the flaps of his ears. Then he heard the noise of the refectory every time he opened the flaps of his ears. It made a roar like a train at night. And when he closes the flaps the roar was shut off like a train going into a tunnel. ”

” Sitting in the studyhall he opened the lid of his desk and changed the number pasted up inside from seventyseven to seventysix. But the Christmas vacation was very far away: but one time it would come because the Earth moved round always. ”

” 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. ”

James Joyce, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Oxford World’s Classics, 2000 (p10, 11, 12)

“What was after the universe? Nothing.”

“What was after the universe? Nothing. But was there anything around the universe to show where it stopped before the nothing place began? It could not be a wall but there could be a thin thin line there all round everything. It was very big to think about everything and everywhere.” (12)

“In a vague way he understood that his father was in trouble and that this was the reason why he himself had not been sent back to Clongowes. For some time he had felt the slight change in his house; and those changes in what he had deemed unchangeable were so many slight shocks to his boyish conception of the world.” (70)

Stephen’s growth in the way he views the world and society begins to shift as he ages. This is proving to be a coming-of-age novel among many other themes. We can see at an early age he thinks differently than many of the boys he goes to school with. And we especially see this emerge when his teacher calls him out for heresy in his paper, and again when he stands up to Heron about who is the best poet.

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Random House, New York, 1928.