Monthly Archives: September 2013

Joyce & the modern Bildungsroman

I am Stephen Dedalus. I am walking beside my father whose name is Simon Dedalus. We are in Cork, in Ireland. Cork is a city. Our room is in the Victoria Hotel. Victoria and Stephen and Simon. Simon and Stephen and Victoria. Names. The memory of his childhood suddenly grew dim. (77)

Character development/perspective development. Childhood vs. present. Joyce is turning the bildungroman into an emotional matter rather than just social/physical in the old tradition.

Is this wrong…or right ?

“He still tried to think what was the right answer.” (Joyce 11)

– During this scene, Stephen is still hung up and questioning the fact on whether or not what he does is right or wrong… Even tho Stephen maybe feels like a target, he shouldn’t care of what people think. So I think any answer he gives is the right answer.

“The train was full of fellows: a long long chocolate train with cream facings. The guards went to and for opening, closing, locking, unlocking the doors. They were men in dark blue and silver, they had silvery whistles and their keys made a quick music: click, click, click, click.” (Joyce 16)

– The writing style is very fun and different. Color is something that is brought up a lot in this paragraph. Joyce also described everything very well here. It makes the reader really get and understand what is happening on the train.

Notes: questioning, color = descriptive ?,  you shouldn’t care about what people think, enjoy the little details.

defying organized religion

“He passed along the narrow dark corridor, passing little doors that were the doors of the rooms of the community.  He peered in front of him and right and left through the gloom and thought that those must be portraits.  It was dark and silent and his eyes were weak and tired with tears so that he could not see.  But he thought they were the portraits of the saints and great men of the order who were looking down on him silently as he passed: saint Ignatius Loyola holding an open book and pointing to the words Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam in it, saint Francis Xavier pointing to his chest, Lorenzo Ricci with his berretta on his head like one of the prefect of the lines, the three patrons of holy youth, saint Stanislaus  Kostka, saint Aloysius Gonzaga and blessed John Berchmans, all with young faces because they died when they were young, and Father Peter Kenny sitting in a chair wrapped in a big cloak” (57).

“They made a cradle of their locked hands and hoisted him up among them and carried him along till he struggled to get free.  And when he had escaped from them they broke away in all directions, flinging their caps again into the air and whistling as they went spinning up and crying:” (60)

Joyce, James.  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.  New York: Penguin Books, 2003.

Notes:   When Stephen is unable to study because his glasses are broken, Father Dolan reprimands him.  The broken glass represents religions distorted view of the world–that people should not live their lives based on religion’s dogmatic teachings.  When Stephen’s friends encourages him to report the incident to the rector, he passes by a hallway which was dark and silent to convey the kind of lives that people lead that suppress their views in favor of religion.  As he passes the hallway, it is filled with pictures of saints as if to imply to Stephen that what you are doing is wrong and that you should not report Father Dolan to the rector.  Ironically, Joyce does not capitalize the word “saint” to refer to the religious figures.  As if Joyce is conveying that religious figures are no different from you and I and that their orders and teachings should not be followed blindly.  After reporting Father Dolan to the rector, Stephen is hoisted up in the air as if to signify his triumph over religion.

The Details of the Moment

“They all laughed again. Stephen trIed to laugh with them. He felt his whole body hot and confused in a moment.” (11)

“To remember that and the white look of the lavatory made him feel cold and the hot.” (9)

Joyce uses temperature and colors to put the reader into the situation. He explains Stephen’s feelings through the tangible effects that emotions cause in people, really allowing people to connect.

Joyce as an Artist

“He closed his eyes and the train went on, roaring and then stopping; roaring again, stopping” (9).

“The guards went to and fro opening, closing, locking, unlocking the doors” (17).

James Joyce is an artist in the way that he paints with words. The way in which he constructed these sentences (and the rest of the novel, for that matter) is quite telling of his abilities to create a portrait without ever picking up a brush and pallet. He combines the past tense with the progressive tense, painting an image of something that has already occurred and yet is still occurring at the same time. A painting, for example, shows an image of something that occurred in the past, but to the onlooker in the present the image is still continuing. In Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night, the night he painted passed, but to the person viewing the image the night is still occurring. Similarly, Joyce is an artist who is painting a portrait of the events that took place in the main character’s life – events that took place and are still taking place simultaneously.

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Huebsch, 1918. Internet Archive.

Framing Through Parents

“That was not a nice expression.  His mother had told him not to speak with the rough boys in the college.  Nice mother!  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 pretended not to see that she was going to cry.  She was a nice mother and but she was not so nice when she cried.  And his father had given him two fiveschilling pieces for pocket money.  And his father had told him if he wanted anything to write home to him and, whatever he did, not to peach on a fellow.” (pg. 7)

Joyce begins by framing all of Stephen’s actions through his relationship to his parents.  This paragraph does not even mention his name but only refers to him by his relation to the parents.

Duality in temperature, “Portrait”

“To remember that and the white look of the lavatory made him feel cold and then hot. There were two cocks that you turned and water came out: cold and hot. He felt cold and then a little hot: and he could see the names printed on the cocks. That was a very queer thing” (9).

“There was a noise of curtainrings running back along the rods, of water being splashed in the basins. There was a noise of rising and dressing and washing in the dormitory: a moise of clapping of hands as the prefect went up and down telling the fellows to look sharp. A pale sunlight showed the yellow curtains draw back, the tossed beds. His bed was very hot and his face and body were very hot” (21).

Joyce seems to use temperature to parallel Stephens’ emotions. Water seems to represent some kind of cold, dreadful feeling inside him, and the frequent images of water reminds the reader of Stephens’ own feelings. At the same time, Stephen himself feels hot, and this duality is shown through the first passage. The literal temperature of the water conveys Stephens’ own “emotional” temperature. Hence, literal sensory images reflect an internal idea.

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Random House, 1916. Print.

Obsession with Relativity — Family ties and Relation to the World

“The Vances lived in number seven. They had a different father and mother. They were Eileen’s father and mother.”  — Joyce, James, and Peter Harness. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. London: Collector’s Library, 2005. Print. (8)

“All the boys seemed to him very strange. They had all fathers and mothers and different clothes and voices. He longed to be at home and lay his head on his mother’s lap.” (13)

“He tried to think of Well’s mother but he did not dare to raise his eyes to Well’s face. He did not like Well’s face.” (15)

“Stephen Dedalus/Class of Elements/ Clongrowes Wood College/ Sallins/ County Kildare/ Ireland/ Europe/ The World/ The Universe” (17)

“It was very big to think about everything and everywhere. Only God could do that.” (17)

Notes: family, relativity, isolation, Stephen determining his place in the world, unknown = foreign = scary, family = familiarity = comfort, proximity, fear of the unknown, relationship to others

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
                                       County Kildare
                                       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)

Sifting through a life in analepsis and prolepsis with James Joyce

“He hid under the table” Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print. Pg. 5.
“He kept on the fringe of his line, out of the sight of the prefect” (Joyce 6)
“After supper in the studyhall he would change the number pasted up inside his desk from seventyseven to seventysix” (Joyce 7).
“He felt small and weak” (Joyce 13.)
“You could die just the same on a sunny day. He might die before his mother came (Joyce 19).
“His soul was still disquieted and cast down by the dull phenomenon of Dublin” (Joyce 65).
“He chronicled with patience what he saw detaching himself from it and testing its mortifying flavor in secret” (Joyce 56).

As a child Stephen tries to make himself physically invisible. His anguish at school is palpable and his perception of time as an immovable object is represented in paper numbers hidden in his desk or as one more hour of the day between him, sleep, and a new number. As Stephen becomes older he finds himself mentally detached from the people and places around him with a chronic longing and restlessness that can’t be quenched.

“He could scarcely recognize his own thoughts, and repeated slowly to himself: I am Stephen Dedalus. I am walking beside my father who is Simon Dedalus. We are in Cork, in Ireland…” (Joyce 77-78)

This is similar to the poem that Stephen made out of his name and information that he printed in his geography book at school ~ pg 12. As if he needs to ground himself with names and places but do they really ground him? As if he knows the power and weakness of words.