“He felt small and weak. When would he be like the fellows in poetry and rhetoric? They had big voices and big boots and they studied trigonometry. That was very far away.”
Notes: Transition from childhood into adulthood. Stephen is desperately trying to escape the world he lives in, but is afraid. He hasn’t found his place in the world yet. On a more general note, there are lots of religious references and imagery. Another thing I noticed about this novel is that there is very little to no dialogue present. They are mostly inner monologues or observations. The narrator appears to be subjective and simply state things from a third-person perspective (Stephen’s perspective as a child); however, there are instances where the narrator conveys his ideas/inklings of what’s to happen. There is a sense of omniscience present.
James Joyce, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Oxford World’s Classics, 2000